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CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
CRO$rLEY'S APPRENTICE
The Life and Ideas of Israel Regardie
by
Gerald Suster
About the author
Gerald Suster was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and
has written numerous books including nine novels as well as a
study of the occult ideas of Hitler, and a biography of Aleister
Crowley. He v/as a personal friend of Israel Regaidie and has
had a long-standing interest in occult ideas.
RIDER
AUCKLAND
JOHANNESBURG
&
LONDON SYDNEY
C.opyright @ 1989 Gerald Suster
All rights reserved
Rider & Co Ltd
An imprint of Century Hutchinson Ltd
Brookmount House,62-65 Chandos
place,
Covent Garden,
London
!WC2N
4NW
Century Hutchinson Australia (pty) Ltd
88-91 Albion Streer, Surry Hills, NSrff 2010
1
Century Hutchinson New Zealand Ltd
PO Box 40-086, 32-34Yiew Road, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand
Century Hutchinson South Africa (pty) Ltd,
PO Box 337, Bergvlei, 2012, South Africa
First published in Great Britain by Rider & Co Ltd l9g9
Set in Plantin by Avocet, Bicester, Oxon
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Guernsey Press Company Ltd
British Cataloguing in Publication Data
Suster, Gerald' 1951-
Crowley's apprentice: the life and ideas of Israel
Regardie.
l. Occultism. Regardie, Israel, 1907-1985
I. Title
t33'.092'4
ISBN 0-7126-2937-8
Contents
Introduction
I AdolescentAwakenings
2 Yoga and the Intelligent Teenager
3 The Approach to Magic
4 The Wickedest Man in the World
5 First Fruits
6 The Golden Dawn and a Poison Cloud
7
'On
the Couch'
8 A Friend in
Jesus?
9 Solve et Coagula
10 The Art of True Healing
1l 'It's a funny old world . . .'
12 The Occult Explosion
13 Light in Extension
14 The Sage ofSedona
15 Ecce Homo
lx
I
l0
l8
3L
52
62
79
93
r02
110
r27
138
t49
160
181
fr,
To
JAMES
Introduction
Dr Francis Israel Regardie (1907-85) is one of the most
important figures in the twentieth-century development of
what some have called the Western Esoteric Tradition. The
elements of this uadition have their origins long before the
birth of Christ; they survived during the Middle Ages, were
openly revived for a time during the Renaissance and con-
tinued to exist during the Scientific Revolution, but the phrase
'I7estern Esoteric Tradition' normally refers to the synthesis
accomplished by'MacGregor' Mathers within the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn during the early 1890s. Some
proceeded to explore and build upon this tradition, taking it to
pastures unsuspected by Mathers. Aleister Crowley is an
obvious example; and Regardie stands out too as a figure of
centrd importance.
Earlier this year, Ms Laura
Jennings,
a leading representa-
tive of the Israel Regardie Foundation set up shortly before the
latter's death, asked me for a brief testimony to the man's
memory for the Foundation's records and possible publica-
tion. I endeavoured to oblige with the following:
When a great Magician dies, one is sure to be bored by those who
loudly proclaim: 'I was his Great Disciple'. In Regardie's case, they
condemn themselves for he did not have disciples; he had friends. I
was proud to be one of them though it was obvious to me that he was
older, more accomplished and much wiser than myself.
I first met Regardie in Los Angeles, after a correspondence on
C,rowley, in the Summer of 1972 andfound him both impressive and
delighdul. I especially appreciated his kindness, his modesty and his
gloriously sane and refreshing sense of humour. My return to
England meant that I did not see him again until my stay in America
l98l-e which is when we became friends.
At the age of 76, his vim and vigour put many young men to
Viii
CROWLEY,S APPRENTICE
shame. He was a consistently stimulating and charming companion
and I treasure the memories-of staying at-his lovd hffi. i" 5;;;,
pa ggjgring the excellence of hii hospitatity. H; ;; ; ;;;;.
loved life and this was reflected in the broad range of his i",.r."r; ir.
even shared my love of Boxing. He never forcJd hir-;;;i;;;"
others
- 'The divine Genius ii within you,' he used to ,"",
;do-it
yoyrge{
- though one could a*ays turrrio him for,rg*i.*
"ari*.
I had the honour of receiving instruction from iim
_
h; ;;,
reluctant to teach though superb once he was persuaded
to do so -
*{ o{ witnessing his
-magical
work. Here, tris styfe-wa. A_,
authoritative, firm and courteous
- yet ti.
po"io
hil-MG;
generated
was awesome. There was.a pure and shining integfitv
about his dedication to the Great wort ana tnir *""rt offi,* ri ii;
impatience.with pretension
and inessentials. Wheneve.h. ;; ;k;l
his Grade, he would reply:
.I'm
a student. We're att,tua.ots.;tr,
-i
view, Golden Dawn Magic owes its continued ,;i;J;A;;;;l
work of Regardie:
He was an excellent writer on Magic and
psycholoey
and
gerfo.rme{_.a lasting service by brinffi h.'. ;;:;.Eliri".,
together. His style ua^s c'if. ani ctear]trii contents
"f
p;;;;;
value.to_ any seeker aftgJ
-Wisdom.
One p*i""mfy
"pii""ar'iT,
technical innovations which gave us the Midah
pillarRihiaiil
th.
Opening
!r
Watchtowl; i9 rry nye in ttu f;;;;,;;il,il
S::.
rlolv o_f Aleister.Crowley.
Thebomplete GoH;-D;;
$r;;
of Magrc is of course his_greatest conrribuiion, o". .igrrt o,n--it i-t.
essential compendium of pure Magical classicism, *f,
"ll
*d;;
owe Regardie a lasting debt of gratltude.
One evening when I was sitting with Regardie out on his sun-deck
and we were gazing at the nyons in the diitance, I asked hi- fo, it.
greatest piece of wisdom about life that he knew.
.Sound,
U*"f, i
Fo*'
he
ppfie4 'bur ir,s a funny old world., That was i"lil
Summer of 1982 and in the years since then, I have founJ ttai
allegedly banal statement to bi Of All Truth on every plane. I can
hear Regardie's voice as I am typing this.
.Otr,
y.r,,iti.
il ;"rr:,
chuckling,
'It's a funny old worid.'
-
^The
foregoing was an endeavour to summarize the essence
ot.lhg maneq though obviously very much more needs to be
said: hence this work. Its seed was planted i" r.*iour *ap
rNTRoDUcrroN ix
Back in Easter 1982, my then wife, Ann, and I were staying at
Regardie's home in Sedona, Arizona. The house couldbe
reached via an uphill road called Inspiration Drive concerning
which Regardie related ro us an interesting local belief. Those
who had lived in Sedona for many years held that if a writer or
ertist walked or drove up Inspiration Drive, a creation would
result. The following day, Ann and I made a point of taking the
9q
up Inspiration Drive
-
after all, it is not called Inspiration
Walk. I have to confess, with all due shame, thai to my
conscious knowledge I felt no inspiration whatsoever. How-
ever, during the brief ascent of the road, Ann became calmly
convinced that one of my future projects had to be a book on
Isracl Regardie.
I thought about this for a time and gradually the conviction
grew strongly within me that Ann was right. Therefore, when
I next stayed with Regardie, I raised the matter and asked for
his permission to proceed the moment I had the time and the
publisher. He considered the proposal thoughdully then
rcsponded by stating that no, he would not allow me to write
a detailed account of his life.
'My life is of no interest to anybody except me,'he declared.
tNo.'
I retorted that he had misunderstood and I had not clearly
explained the nature of my intended approach. It was not my
purpose to explore and expound the day-to-day details of his
worldly existence. It was the evolution and expression of his
thought which fascinated me. My goal was to study the ideas
of an interesting man who honestly sought wisdom and whose
writings have influenced so
-ary;
indeed, one could see this
influence growing with the republication of all his works.
Therefore my book would indeed give an essential outline of
his life, including anything he chose to tell me for publication;
but its aims were to study the progress of his thought,
scrutinize the traditions and ideas presented in a form
intelligible to the general reader yet satisfying to the specialist,
constructively criticize these statements which are open to
question and, finally, paint a portrait of a man.
X CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
Moreover there were, I argued, five vital factors. Unlike
many seekers after wisdom, Regardie did not embrace o walr
reiect it and then rush blindly into another enthusiasm whiih
would dominate his life until the next rejection and the
succeeding embrace. As he grw, he sought to expand his
knowledge and to harmonize new discoveries with all he had
gained from the past. For instance, his early views on Aleister
Crowley and the Golden Dawn were later altered in the light of
psychology and further life experience
- in my opinion, there
was a great manlring
-
yet he always held fast to the
fundamental vision of his youth.
Secondly, whereas Crowley, for example, was born with
every advantage for the single-minded pursuit of hidden
wisdom and saw himself as a member of an elite, Regardie had
to overcome all manner of social and financial handicaps
- it is
testimony to his determination that he managed to undertake
his quest at all
- and his approach was democratic.
Thirdly, Regardie's eqrphasis was always on coining to the
Light. This tl$me dominates all his wriiings, whatever the
particular subiect.
The essence of the matter was, fourthly, the story of how an
ordinary boy from a poor background, with little to assist him
other than his own integrity and self-educated natural intelli-
genc; pursued the Light of Truth via various means, became
an illuminated man through this persistent quest and radiated
that Light to others.
Finally, the proposed work certainly required a comprehen-
sive exposition of Regardie's concerns which would satisfy the
most exacting expert; but it would be executed as a narrative of
intellecnral and metaphysical advenftre.
Such was my proposal and this time there was no hesitation
at dl in Regardie's reply. Three words said everything.
'Go to it!'
Adolescent Awakenings
Iryael Regardie, born Israel Regudy, was handicapped at birth
with every social and economic disadvantage. The date was
l7 November 1907 and the place was
iust
off the Mile End
Road in London's East End, in a dwelling Aleister Crowley
lster cruelly called 'one of the vilest slums in London'. Hii
parents were poor
Jewish
immigrants and so at that time were
looked down upon by one and all.
During the First World War, an elder brother enlisted in the
armed forces and the recruiting sergeant mistakenly recorded
the name as'Regardie', which name the family appears to have
taken for its own reasons. In August l92l the Regardies
emigrated to America and Washington, DC. There, young
Israel resolved during his teenage years to become a painter
end to this end attended art school in Philadelphia, Pennsylva-
nia. Moreover, at the age of fifteen he had sein a reference to
Madame Blavatsky in a book belonging to his sister. Fasci-
neted by the name, he had looked it up, learned about her
stormy life, and gone on to read Blavatsky's remarkable
writings. 'From then onr' he later recalled,
'I was hooked.'
Helena Peuovna Blavatsky was born in the Ukraine in 1831,
and after various wanderings and adventures, including mar-
riage; landed in New York in 1873, proclaiming an inteiest in,
end knowledge of, Eastern esoteric doctrines. There she met
C,olonel Olcon and with his assistance founded the Theosophi-
cal Society two years later: the avowed aim was the study of
Hidden Wisdom. In 1878, Madame Blavatsky and Colonel
Olcott sailed to India, where the Theosophical Sociery met
with unexpected success. After some years of acclaim, and then
a series of scandals involving allegations that Blavatsky's
boasted mediumistic powers were fraudulent, she returnedto
Europe and England, where she died in 1891.
t
CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
Madame Blavatsky habitually smoked like a chimney, drank
like a fish, swore like a uooper and made love like a Cieopara
- furthermore, her chain-smoking consisted of roll-ups irade
from a heady mixture of tocacco and cannabis. Her sutcessors
were not even fit to carry her ash-tray. Edward Maitland was
earnest but dull and Anna Kingsford was described by Aleister
Crgwley.as'handicapped by a brain that was a mass of putrid
pulp, and a complete lack of social stanrs, education and-moral
character'. However, the Theosophical Society continued to
flourish until Annie Besant, f sanctimonious prig, ond
C. W. Leadbeater, rightly assailed by Crowley aj
.a=
senile
sodomite', succeeded in inadvertently blunting tle theosophi-
cal thrust with widess proclamations, then compoundea ttreir
folly by announcing that a young Indian boy, fuishnamurti,
was in fact Christ returned to Eanh and the !7orld Messiah.
In. the winter of 1910, Krishnamurti and his younger
brother Nityananda moved into quarters adjacenr t; Ldd-
beater at the insistence ofthe latter. Shortly afterwards, Annie
Besant had the.boys taken into her care. In l9l l, the father of
the boys filed a law suit for the recovery of his sons and
succeeded in a trial, Madras 1912, during the course of which
allegations of pederasty were made against Leadbeater.
To Krishnamurti's great credit, he was inwardly moved to
repr.rCiate publicly the ridiculous role thrust upon him by his
manipulating mentors and he has subsequently put in a
lifetime's laudable work in unpretentiously awakening enlight-
enment in others. However, the fatuity of Besant ana I-Jaa-
beater brought Theosophy into a richly deserved ridicule from
which it has never recovered. Although the Theosophical
Society is still in being, these days it is the preserve ofthose
who prefer tepid tea to tough thought.
Yet the inlluence of Madame Blavatsky's astonishing works
can hardly be overestimated. There has hardly been an
occultist since her death who has not been affected by her
ideas, whether direcdy or indirectly. The lady went so faras to
clai-n1ghq the composition of her books Isis Unaeiled (1877)
ar:d, Tlu Sectet Doctrinc (1888) was assisted by clairvoyance,
ADoLESCENT A$TAKENTNGS 3
snd that obscure works and quotations had suddenly appeared
in obedience to her needs and desires; that she was limiliar
with'the oldest book in the world', the incalculably ancient
Stanzas of Dzyan; and that Hidden Masters were in regular
communication with her person. Needless to say, these claims
have been disputed, but whatever the sources of Blavatsky's
inspiration, and whatever else she may have been, the woman
wgs not a mere charlatan, for no charlatan could possibly have
wrinen her exquisite mysticd masterpiece, The Voice of The
Silerce.l
Blavatsky's writings challenge-d Christianity, which she
loathed, and proclaimed in its stead a lVesternized Hinduism,
with its attractive docuines of reincarnation and karma. They
hd people to seek alternatives to the Christian religion, and to
Suspect the existence of non-material occult forces, as myste-
riousand intangible as electricity, thus preparing the way inthe
popular mind for future scientific investigation. Whereas
Nietzsche taught that the Superman is the imminent nexr stage
in human evolution, Blavatsky announced that Supbfinen
dready existed, that they were rhe Hidden Masters who
inhabited C-entral Asia, and that they could be contacted
telepathically by those who had been initiated into their
mysteries. Vhereas the chemists and physicists taught that
there was little more to learn about a universe of matter,
Blavatsky insisted that there was much more to learn about a
universe of spirit, which could act upon the former. And
whereas biologists taught that man evolved from the apes,
Blevatsky revealed that there have been four root races before
our own, which incluced the ancient civilizations of lost
Lemuria and Atlantis, and that evolution has been assisted by
divine kings from the stars.
Although Regardie's early enthusiasm for Blavatsky's ideas
was soon tempered by further reading and a critical approach,
and although he deplored the errors of Blavatsky's successors,
throughout his life he continued to praise the woman and her
work. It is not difficult to understand why Blavatsky's writings
had such a galvanizing influence upon the adolescent
;
&,
CRO!?LEY'S APPRENTICE
Regardie. He had hardly enioyed an upbringing conducive to
mind-expansion. In common with so many of his era
- and
ours
- he had been brought up to believe in very narrow
limitations to his future development.
The religion of his family was rhe strict and literal
Judaism
of the period. This prescribed rules for every particular mode
of conduct and was severely orthodox. Those who are
Jewish
or part-Jewish have every valid reason for taking a proper pride
in the fact;2 and there is much to be said for the simple-code
enunciated by Moses in The Ten Commandments: yet so
many who have undergone a uaditional
Judaic
upbringing
have subsequendy condemned its suppressive nature.
Regardie's early and thorough training in Hebrew would stand
him in excellent stead when he came later ro snrdy the Kabbala
but he early reiected the accompanying dogma of the organ-
ized religion in which he had been reared
The essence of
Judaism
is that God chose the
Jews
[o be His
People and mapppd out a*destiny for them. Through His
Prophets, the greaiest of whom was Moses, He laid down Laws
covering all the eventualities of the time under which His
People should and must live. He led the Israelites out of
captivity in Egypt, sustained them throughout their wander-
ings in the wilderness, brought them to victory in battle against
their enemies and gave them the Promised Land, the
,land
of
milk and honey'. He gave them Prophets and He gave them
Judges
and He gave them Kings: and David the Great and
Solomon the Wise are still esteemed and honoured in the
memory of Mankind. Unfornrnately, or so it is held, the
Children of Israel rebelled against the Laws of God, and
repeated punishments, such as the Babylonian Captivity, did
not have the desired effect of moral and religious improve-
ment. Eventually, the
Jews
were scattered by the Romans and
two thousand years of intermittent but horrendous persecution
followed.
Jews
believe, however, that in the end the Messiah
will come - they hold that
Jesus
Christ committed blasphemy
in claiming to be the Son of God - and the Chosen People will
ADoLEScENTAwAKENTNGs 5
bc reunited in the Promised Land,
justice
will be done and the
Will of the Lord shall prevail.
Until that time, a devout
Jew
must faithfully observe the
injunctions and commandments of YAHUTEH Lord of Hosts.
It can be argued that adherence to the Law of God in
eccordance with Torah (the Law) and the Talmud (the
Rsbbinical teachings on the law) makes of one a righteous
human being. It can also be argued that it could make one self-
righteous. Some of the laws must strike an observer as being
out of date. For instance, the prohibition against the eating of
pork made absolute sense in its time. The flesh of the desert pig
could infect its human consumer with a horrible and fatal
disease, so a taste for pork could result in decimation of the
tribe. If Moses had rationally pointed out the health risks, this
would have had as liule effect as Government Health Wamings
on cigarette packets; so it was necessary to make of the matter
e divine rule given by God. It is difficult for a non-member of
the
Jewish
faith to perceive the relevance of this command-
ment to the world of today. The present writer trusts that his
fewish
readers will forgive him for this comment, though they
may not forgive his subject for his oft repeated statement to his
friends: 'Moses? Yes. The
Jewish
religion? Load of rubbish.'
One can, however, discern two elements in
]udaism
which
inlluenced Regardie. The first is the notion of a code of
honour. Unless one becomes a student of Kabbala,
Judaism
is
not a metaphysical religion andone finds little concern withthe
afterlife: its concerns are ethical, involving how we act here and
now. 'Honourable'is
perhaps the highest word of praise a
Jew
uses for a particular action he or she respects. Throughout his
life, Regardie endeavoured to be honourable.
The second notion is that of the Rabbi. In contrast to Roman
Catholicism, for instance, the Rabbi has in
Judaism
no innate
or divine superiority to other men and women. Rabbi means
merely'wise man', and traditionally the Rabbi has been simply
the most learned man of any given
Jewish
community. He is
expected to be married and to have children, not only for the
sake of the Biblical commandment to Adam and Eve (and later
CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
ADOLESCENTAWAKENINGS 7
an earlier tradition, the tradition of learning. Anyone can see
from the impassioned conviction of the Hebrewprophets in
the Old Testament, for instance, that it is better to be learned
than loaded. The resuh, which evolved from the mating of
worldly and divine wisdom, has become a clich6 of
Jewish-
American comedy. 'Be a doctor, my son, be a lawyer . . .' which
ingcniously combines learning culture, social position and
money. This is a
Jewish
ideal. Many fail to understand that, for
cxample, a
Jewish
businessman who has been born in
rppalling poverry and who subsequently makes millions woirld
prefer a son who became a cultured, well-educated barrister
with a good though not spectacular income to one who
continued as a vulgar tycoon.
It is necessary to probe and explore these sensitive areas, for
wc are trying to comprehend the factors which affected the
psn Regardie. He would return to this earlier conditioning in
htcrliferthough afteranother manner, when he would suppott
his magical endeavours through earning a richly deserved
livitrg as a psychotherapist and in testy moodJ he would
grumble: 'I7hy're Magicians usudly so poor? You never meet
e poor Christian Scientist.'
Moreover, throughout his life, he was sensitive about the
mstter of being
Jewish.
The reprehensible anti-semitic atti-
fttdes oftoo many Englishpeople during his times in Britain no
doubt brought about this undesirable consequence. His
$tinrde remained consistendy ambivalent. For instance, in old
rge he was wont to criticize acidly certain
Jewish
attitudes
while tucking in heartily to the excellent
Jewish
food he'd
cooked. According to Laura
Jennings,
though this is not the
eccount I originally received, Regardie died with his face in a
bowl of chicken soup. If this is so, then there is surely
oomething very Zen about his manner of departure.
However, his initial reaction to his upbringing was that of
any hedthy teenager: he rebelled against it. In place of law or
medicine or anything else which would have pleased his father
and mother, he chose art, that most insecure of professions and
to Abraham) tobe fruidul and multiply, but also because ofthe
practical' common-sensical belief that a man without a wife
and children is perfectly useless and incapable of advising the
comrnunity regarding marital and parental problems.
Nevertheless, and in common wiih so many
Jews,
Regardie
came as a teenager to reiect a religion which seemed to fim to
offer little more than a fierce, jealous
and broodthirsty father-
{sot loaring:
'Don'r_argue! Do as I say!'He also rejicted the
clasqig
Jewish
view of socio-economic personal development.
This is an issue which has been swerely misunderstood.
Even well-intentioned, decent people who ab-hor anti-semitism
nevertheless appear to believe thatthe principal concern of the
Jews
is the making of money. This maner-is somewhat less
simplistic than it initially appears to be.
When the
Jews
were scattered, they had no position, money,
security or status in the various societies into which they
entered. There is one plain, clear way forward to a better life in
any society.at-any time for any individual
-
the acquisition of
money. This factray well be deplorable but nsn-Jews who
disrespect mongy are hard to find. Harder to find in-faa, than
Jews
like Freud, Marx or Einstein, who laboured all their lives
for the advancement of humanity with a pittance as their
reward.
In the
ryliqqt
Ages the Roman Catholic Church (which
until recently blamed the crucifixion of Chrisr upon the
Jews)
recognized the essential importance of money-lending to trade,
yet condemned the practice as usury. christians werelherefore
forbidden to lend money at intereit
-
yet this was essential to
the florrrishing of commerce. Therefore the despised
Jews
were licensed to practise usury and condemned on accou-nt of
it. A poor, down-trodden and persecuted people saw an
oppornrnity to improve their unenviable lot and seized it. For
generation
after generation
Jews
acquired expertise as bankers
and merchants. Their position in- society was based upon
money.
Yet despite this dependence upon financial skills forced
upon the
Jews
by the society around rhem, they did not forget
I
!':
'is
:.1
&
,i
then
-
far worse in the eyes of
Jewish
parents
- the occult. His
first doorway was, as has been said, Theosophy.
This was appropriate. It has been said that the
Jews
are the
bridge between East and West: and Theosophy served as a
bridge to Eastern thought for many Westerners. At the time
too, Theosophy served to introduce so many to the occult and
to mind-expansion.
\tr?hat
can sensibly be said about Madame Blavatsky,s
extraordinary works? One reads them and is confronted by
ideas and assertions which flady contradict anything one might
read in the papers or hear at home or learn at school. These
assertions, supported by astounding data, are piled on so thick
and fast that any sane brain is sent reeling after due open-
minded contemplation.
Suppose that you have an immorral spirit within you, which
has been on earth so very many times before in one body or
another and which will go, not to heaven or to he[, but to a
hundred, a thousand or evn many million more lives. Suppose
that karma is ihdeed a law of the Universe, that everything you
do will inevitably come back to you sooner or later. Suppose
that there are indeed Hidden Masters, beings of praeter-
human intelligence, who are concerned with the evolution of
lifg upon this planet and who may ger in touch with you if they
think you have potential and may be useful. Suppose that there
are practices by which you can expand your awareness,
enhance your every faculty, come into contact with non-
physical beings of various kinds, transform your life and lift
yourself to states of consciousness whereby, if you yourself are
not a Hidden Master, you are at least in their itass .. . one may
indeed disagree totally with these notions, so trenchantly
advanced by Madame Blavatsky, but it cannot be denied that
even a momentary acceptance will vasdy expand the horizons
of the mind.
Furthermore, belief in these suppositions
-
rightly or
wrongly
- can transform one's whole life. That may or may not
be desirable, and obviously one
judges
by results, but it is hard
to see what Regardie could lose by his enthusiastic adolescent
ADoLEScENTAvAKENTNGS
9
embracing of these ideas. It is certainly true that this makes
one's time more lively and interesting.
-That
is what happened to the young Regardie. And the point
which atracted his finest anention wal practical. Madame
Blavatsky had declared that many things of which she wrote
'were
comprehensible only to'Adepts'. Very well: if this is so,
how does one become an Adept? How can these propositions
bc tested in the light of experience? If one is open-minded, it
iq surely a matter of finding a set of time-honoured practices
4Lg4
to bring one to the states desired and of working at
them for a reasonable period of time.
Regardie set out to do this while still in his mid-teens and,
fornrnately, a time-honoured method, sanctioned by Madami
Blavatsky, was available.
Yoga.
Notes
t
Tlu Voice of Tlw Silence; with a superb commentary by
.Frater
O.M.'
(Alcister Crowley) has been published in Ttu Equino4Vol. rrr, No. l, also
S"*_"
es Tlv Blue Eqrinox, a publication edited and largely writtin by
Gowley; and rnGems From Tlv Eryinor, edited by Regaraii.
,
For the record, the author takes pride in the fact that hiJfather's family is
fcwish,
dthough this entails the unfornrnate consequence that he wolld
have bee_n gassed in Nazi Germany, yet is not accepted as
Jewish
by the
etate of Israel.
CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
2
Yoga and the Intelligent Teenager
Regardie's quest for meaning and purpose in life was spurred
onward by the experience of emotions common to so many
intelligent and sensitive adolescents. One of these experiences
is of especial relevance here. Its nanrre and quality and
importance to
\Western
Man have been explored brilliantly, for
instance, by Colin Wilson inThe Outsidzr. The Outsider is one
'who sees too deep and too much' as a result of which he
becomes alienated from the herd and its material concerns, for
he is appalled by the futility of all human endeavour.
Buddhists call this the Trance of Sorrow. Others might term it
'an existential crisis'. All who have experienced it agree on
three points: the feeling is one of bitter agony; evenftally they
become conscious.dif a ravenous hunger and infinite yearning,
suspected in themselves to be futile, for some secret glory
which will restore some essential meaning to life; and it
changes their fundamentd point of view for a lifetime.
Impelled by a hunger for wisdom beyond the material, for a
life that was something more than merely'birth, copulation
and death', to use Eliot's phrase, Regardie studied Eastern
philosophy and Yoga and was familiar with the major works by
the time he was eighteen. Although he was not yet familiar
with the works of Aleister Crowley, Regardie's intellecnral
position can be succinctly summarized in the words of the
former:
Ve perceive in the sensible world, Sorrow. Ultimately that is: !7e
admit the existence of a Problem requiring solution. . . . Following on
this we say: If any resolution there be to . . . the Vanity of Life and the
Vanity of Thought, it must be in the attainment of a C.onsciousness
which transcends both of them. Let us call this supernormal
YoGA AND THE INTELLIGENT TEENAGER I I
oonsciousness, or, for want of a better name 'spiritual Experience'
(Tlv Epinox,r,2).
This is surely suaighdorwardenough
-yerso muchrubbish
has been wrinen and spoken about Yoga. So much advantage
has been and still is taken of Wesrern ignorance. The Vest has
to endure a plethora of 'Holy Men'-whom the East would
rcgard as clowns. There are 'teachers' who have precious little
to teach; books from which nothing useful can be learned;
classes which give the gullible fatuous fibs as a substitute for
truth. And the test of truth with Yoga is redly terribly simple.
It is the same as the test of truth in any other sphere of human
knowledge. It is: are the facts correct? and how can this be
tcsted? and is the logic coherent? Any statement which does
not pass these elementary tests is no part of Yoga.
As Aleister Crowley stated, 'Yoga' comes from the same
etymological root as theLatin jugum
- ayoke
-
and it means
tuniont.
Yoga yokes together the perceiver and the thing
perceived, the knower and the thing known
.
and leads to a
union between the two. Yogis declare that the experience of
this union is so powerful that it uansforms one's life.
However, the teenage Regardie was not yet prepared for
practices. First he studied the philosophical context of the
subiect, reading Hindu classics such as The Upanishads md,
The Bhagaztad-Gita,which he would always revere, in addition
to other scriptures and manuals of instruction. He came to
leslize that Hinduism is a synthesis of the various cults of the
Indian sub-continent. A Hindu can believe in any god, goddess
or gods and,/or goddesses whatsoever as long as there is
oommitment to the caste system. The caste system is a way of
ordering social life. It is thought by Hindus that there are four
classes of society: in descending order, these are the priestly
caste, (Brahmins); the warrior caste; the merchant caste; and
the worker caste; below these, there are the 'Untouchables'.
In common with any sensible Vesterner, Regardie had little
interest in the Hindu caste system but he perceived that
Theosophy derived from the religion. Why are Hindus so
::1
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t
.,:- '
9S.
b
'i
l*
1,1'r
i;:.
.*&
&
t2 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE YOGA AND THE INTELLIGENT TEENAGER L3
goddesses. These in tum manifest yet more densely and on
every level of human life, the result being roughly three
hundred and twenty million deities, all of whom are part of
Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva, and hence part of Brahman. Thus,
when a peasant chooses to worship the divinity of his fire-
;place,
responsible to the divinity of his village, he is worship-
ping an aspect of Brahman and thus making contact with It.
In addition, there is the doctrine of aoatars. This means that
r god or goddess comes to Earth in a human body. The most
,famous
example of this is Krishna, an cwatar of Vishnu the
Preserver, but there are many others. Thus it would be
pcrfecdy possible to revere
Jesus
Christ as an avatar of God
while remaining a pious Hindu.
There is the belief in karma
- the Law of Cause and Effect,
whereby everything you do will come back to you. This belief
is often misunderstood. I have heard it seriously argued, for
instancc, that if I eat too much poached salmon,I will have to
rcincarnate as a salmon and be eaten by the salmon reincar-
nated as a human being
-
when in faa the consequence of my
action is likely to be indigestion. Finally, there is the belief in
rcincarnation. It is held that the atmanmigrates from body to
body over the ages. We die only to be reborn in a future life.
The ultimate aim of this is, as I have stated to attain Moksln
or liberation.from the wheel of birth, death and rebirth,
whereby we become one with Brahman. And one may well ask:
what is the point of Brahman putting out points, each of which
is atman,toenter Illusion onlyto come back again?
- but again,
let us leave this to Hindu theologians
Any student of Vestern philosophy must have noticed
similarities between Vedanta and the thought of Bishop
Berkeley. For Berkeley argued that the world of maner is
illusory; that things exist only by virnre ofbeing perceived; and
that if we didn't perceive them, they wouldn't exist at all, were
it not for God - or Brahman
*
who is always everywhere and
perceiving everything.
Unsurprisingly, Regardie's srudy of Hinduism extended to
Buddhism and the reading of classics hke Tlu Dlnmmapadn
tolerant in maners of religious thought? The answer is in that
noble document of the human spirit, The Upanishads,and,the
sages who created the system of thought we know as Vedanta.
This was an attempt to make order out of the chaos of the
innumerable Indian cults. vedanta is the supreme expression
of the Hindu religion and, paradoxically, if also
iustifies
the
superstitious behaviour of the peasants.
The ultimate reality is called Brahman. Brahman is the
utterly impersonal force out of which the universe derives its
manifestation. Brahman is neither male nsr female. It is
beyond manifestation; it is the ultimate reality.
_Everything
that is not Brahman is Maya, or illusion. In
other words, the manifested Universe is an iilusion. We, as
imperfect beings, have to deal with this illusion. Theri is
something within us which knows it is an illusion. This
somethingis called 'otman'- the ultimate spirit or soul
- and
it is part of Brahman. It is, if one chooses to expresp it in this
way, God within us. We undertake incarnation-after incarna-
tion until we realize this, hnd according to Vedanta, our aim
must be to becomione withour atma,
"id
ro p"tt of nratrman,
liberated eternally from Maya. That, it is declared, is our objeci
of existing.
The anentive reader will no doubt have spotted an obvious
objection here. What is the point of noi being one with
Brahman and so existing in Maya or Illusion, solely in order to
become, in the end, one with Brahman? The answer is best left
to Hinduthegloglans. The purpose here is simply to expound
and explain the viewpoint of Vedanta insofar aslt can be done:
It is believed that nearly all sentient beings are not one with
Brahman and so exist in the world of Maya. How, if at all, does
Brahman manifest here? This is where the gods come in. It is
held that the Energy of Brahman manifestJ in the forces and
forms of gods
- and goddesses. The initial manifestation in a
Universe of illusion is normally portrayed as a trinity of gods
-
Brahma the Creator; Vishnu the
preserver;
and
-Shiva
the
Destroyer. These three Powers have goddesses with whom
they consort and they manifest more densely as other gods and
{
"-. F
:
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rt
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il.'
.in
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,8:
F,1
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ir:
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Str
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A,
t4 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
and rhe
Questions
of King Milinda. Buddhism is the most
logically coherent of all the organized religions. It holds that
there was a man called Gautama who was born a Hindu prince.
Although his parents did all they could to shield him frbm the
pains of life on earrh, he once saw a beggar and this made him
so desperately unhappy that he fled his palace in search of
enlightenment. Finally, or so it is said, he found it. It is related
that after many adventures, Gautama sat beneath the sacred
bodhi tree for forty days and forty
"igrrtr,
r.rnrirrg ,o *ou.
until he had attained enlightenment. Having achieved this, he
was called 'Buddha' by his followers 'Buddha' means
'Enlightened one'. He then proclaimed the Four Noble
Truths: (a) Existence is Suffering
- arealization which so often
spurs adolescents
- and adults
- onto a quest for wisdom; (b)
the cause of Suffering is Craving; (c) the Cessation of Suffering
therefore means the cessation of craving; and (d) the way t6
achieve that is to follow what Gautama Buddha called
,th.
Noble Eight-Fold Path'. This consisrs of eight principles of
conduct and mental training.
In addition, Bucidha denied a number of beliefs which
Hindus hold sacred. He thought that the caste system was
utterly ridiculous. Many westerners would agreej but Gau-
tama went much further. As the Buddhist proverb has it:
Binh is Misery.
Life is Misery.
Death is Misery.
But Resurrection is the greatest Misery of all.
withcomplete consistency of logic, Buddha proceeded to deny
both Brahman and atman. rnother words, he denied that therl
is a one behind the universe and he denied that there is within
us a central spirit or soul. Whereas in Hinduism, this spirit or
soul goes from body to body throughout countless incarnations
until it finally becomes one with Brahman, in Buddhism there
is no soul and there is no one. This is hard to grasp at first
- but
it is rather like looking at waves on a sea-shore. A trave comes
YoGA AND THE INTELLIGENT TEENAGER 15
and breaks, it withdraws, then another wave comes) which may
contain rnuch ofthe same water as before
- and then it withdraws
and another wave comes . . . there is no permanent'central water'
in these succeeding waves.
Again, the attentive reader may have noticed a significant
parallel in western philosophy Hume. His thought is
strikingly similar. rn A Treatise of Human Nature and An
E nquiry C onc erning H um an
(J
nder s t anding, Hume ridiculed the
notion of there being a cenrral 'Self and regarded beliefs as
being simply tendencies of the mind which did not stand up ro
rational analysis, a position similar to, if not identical with,
Buddhist thought. Credit for discerning the similarities and
identities between Vedantist thought and Berkeley, and Bud-
dhist thought and Hume, has ro go to Aleister crowley, and it
is astonishing that this marter is not studied in- British
universities.
There are two major forms of Buddhism. The 'Mahayana'
or 'Greater vehicle' is to be found mainly in India, china,
Japan,
Tibet and Nepal. It has blended with the beliefs of the
peoples it has influenced. As a resuk, we find in it the idea that
there are many Buddhas or 'Enlightened ones' and we can
pray to them to give us better lives and better future
incarnations
- a hypothesis which Gautama, judging
from the
rccords, would have found preposterous. In India, it is hard to
distinguish between Hindu and Mahayana Buddhist theory
and practice. Nevertheless, the influence of Mahayana has
bcen productive in its mating with certain beliefs treid before
its arrival: results have included a union with Bon so as to
produce Tibetan Tantra; and a union with chinese Tao-ist
thought so as to produce cha'an, which in
Japan
became zen.
The earlier form of Buddhism, which is closest to the
teaching of Gautama and his immediate disciples, is known as
the'Hinayana' or'Lesser vehicle'and as'Ttieravada'. It is to
be found mainly in South-east Asia, most notably Burma and
Sri Lanka.
To turn our attention from theory to practice, there are very
f'ew books on the practice of Yoga which are worth reading.
l6 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
This is a pity, for Yoga is the
\tr0ay
for Buddhists, whether
Mahayana or Hinayana, and for Hindus. The goal of the
Hindu is to have union with Brahman
-
Yoga means union.
The goal of the Buddhist is Nirvana, that cessarion of
Existence which is Suffering, and so the ego must annihilate
itself in that union with Nirvana (Nothingness) which is Yoga.
Either wa]r the goal is union with Beyond Infinity. The
essence of the matter is simplicity itself. As Crowley put it: 'Sit
still. Stop thinking. Shut up. Get out.'
No more is actually needed for the practice of Yoga, but
many may require more specific directions. Most texts will
confuse more than they clarify. The texts written by semi-
literate Hindus in the hope of making money and disciples out
of gullible Westerners are the worst. The best are certain
classics which Regardie studied: the Yoga Aphorism.s of
Patanj ali
;
Raj a Y oga by Swami Vivekananda, the great disciple
of Ramakrishna; the Shiaa Sanhita; the Hathayoga Pradipika;
and the writings of 'Arthur Avalon' (Sir
John
Woodruffe). To
these the present wS,iter would add Theos Bernard's Hatha
Yoga and a very good little book published by Pelican and
called simply Yoga by Ernest Wood. Finally, perhaps beyond
all these, there are the relevant works of Aleister Crowley.
Regardie first came across Crowley's name at the age of
eighteen at the house of lawyer friend in
\UTashington,
DC. A
work by this man was read aloud. It was called Part 1 of Booh
Four. Although Regardie was familiar with the classics, he was
dazzled by Crowley's brilliance and clarity, and over forty
years later, he would still insist in print that Part 1, of Book Four
is a classic in its own right. The essentials of Raia Yoga
- 'Royal
Yoga', the Way of one-pointed concentration upon an obiect,
real or imagined
-
are explored quietly, calmly and methodi-
cally; technical terms are avoided or else carefully explained;
and it is obvious that the author is an experienced and
accomplished Yogi. The essence of the matter is stated
succinctly in the Summary:
Firstly, we still the body by the practice called Asana, and secure
YoGA AND THE INTELLIGENT TEENAGER 17
its ease and the regularity of its functions by Pranayama (breath-
control). Thus no messages from the body will disturb the mind.
Secondly, by Yama and Niyama, we still the emotions and
passions, and thus prevent them arising to disturb the mind.
Thirdly, by Pratyahara we analyse the mind yer more deeply, and
begin to control and suppress thought in general of whatever nature.
Fourthly, we suppress all other thoughts by a direct concentration
upon a single thought. This process, which leads to the highest
results, consists of three parts, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi,
grouped under a single term Samyama.
Dharana is concentration, The process of Dhyana is des-
cribed in Book Four as follows:
In the course of our concentrationwe noticed that the contents of the
mird
qt
any moment consisted of two things, and no more: the Obiect,
variable, and the Subject, invariable, or apparently so. By success in
Dharana the object has been madc as inzsariable as the subject ...
Now the result of this is that the two become one.This phenomenon
usually comes as a tremendous shock. It is indescribable even by the
masters of language; and it is therefore not surprising that semi-
educated stutterers wallow in oceans of gush.
All the poetic faculties and all the emotional faculties are thrown
into a sort of ecstasy by an occurrence which overthrows the mind,
and makes the rest of life seem absolutely worthless in comparison.
Samadhi, which Crowley attained, is beyond this. And so it
is hardly surprising that a wildly enthusiastic Regardie wrote to
Crowley care of the publisher. Eight months passed. Then,
just when Regardie had forgotten his letter, a reply came from
lhris. Crowley suggested that Regardie should contact his
agent in New York, one Karl
J.
Germer. Regardie travelled to
New York and discovered that Germer, an ex-lfehrmacht
officer, was a passionate and sincere disciple of Crowley. From
Germer, Regardie purchased ten bulky numbers of Crowley's
The Equino)c, a periodical published in London, 1909-14. The
next stage of his quest would be an exploration of Magic
- or,
as Crowley called it, Magick.
THE APPROACH TO MAGIC
connotations of the terminology. Moreover) we do not speak of
black and white aft or black and white science
-
so why black
and white magic? one answer might be to point out that Magic
is like water: one can use it to drive a hydro-electric powet
plant, make a cup of tea or boil one's granny; and that therefore
Black Magic consisrs of the use of energies aroused through the
practice of Magic to harm other individuals. Another point of
view is that enunciated by crowley in his Magick: In Theory
and Practice:
the single Supreme Ritual is the aftainmenr of the Knowledge and
C,onversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. It is the raising of the
complete man in a aertical straight line.
ANY DEVIATION FROM THIS LINE TENDS TO
BECOME BLACK MAGIC. ANY OTHER OPERATION IS
BLACK MAGIC.
We shall be further inspecting these remarks; for the present it
is important that terms used far too loosely in most cases are
clearly defined.
Sorcery is the use of energies aroused through Magic for
purely practical, material gain.
Witchcraft, as largely practised nowadays, is a religion
claiming pagan ancesrry which worships the male and female
principles of Nature and uses sorcery to benefit those involved
in that worship.
'Satanism' is a word which cannot be defined in one
sentence, owing to the hysteria it arouses, but which denotes
one or other of the following: (a) Perverted Christians who find
it deliciously naughty to blaspheme rheir own religion; these
seedy, overgrown schoolboys take puerile nonsense seriously.
Matty experienced prostitutes augment their incomes catering
to their needs. (b) wealthy degenerares who want salt with
their sex and pepper with their perversions but who at least
don't take the accompanying mummery seriously. (c)
Jaded
morons in search of some new kick, who've read some Dennis
Wheatley novels or Star articles and have seen some horror
19
The Approach to Magic
It is most unfortunate that the general public is so ill-informed
on all matters relating to Ceremonial Magic and so it is perhaps
best to begin by stating what it is not.
It is not about naked perverts prancing around a blood-
stained altar upon which writhes a nude virgin over whom an
unfrocked Roman Catholic priest mumbles Mass backwards
while poncing about in semen-stained robes.
It is not about seedy suburbanites performing silly ceremo-
nies so as to perk up their dreary little lives.
It is not about self-styled gurus, who would bore any sane
person to the verge of insanity, imposing upon the impression-
able with a preposterous pretbnce regarding secret information
sources and claiming an omniscience ludicrous to all save the
gullible.
It is not about a hoodoo-voodoo, mumbo-iumbo hotch-
potch of bizarre terms repugnant to human intelligence. Nor is
it about a merciful escape into a dream-world for the weak and
wimpish; though it has to be regretfully admitted that the
above five activities have all too frequently been carried on
under the name of Magic.
Then what r Magic? Aleister Crowley defined it as 'the
science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with
will'. A later magician, Dion Fortune, limited the above by her
definition: 'The science and art of causing changes in con-
sciousness to occur in conformity with will,' though many
practitioners of Magic would be comfortable with her point of
view. The present writer has been known to define it as: 'The
science and art of realising the Divine Self by changing the
human self.'
What, then, is Black Magic? This over-used term is
unfortunate. One cannot be comfortable with the racist
2t
20 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
films and who then vandalize churches or torture animals
while bleating about the Devil. (d) Self-styled gurus whose
magical practices have brought them a limited charisma and
whose egotism is fed by the lost and inadequare whom they
persuade to participate in black magic. (e) Anton Szandor
LaVey's San Francisco-based Church of Satan, which equates
'Satan' with Freud's 'libido', uses ritualistic psycho-drama to
liberate complexes, preaches ethics of enlightened self-interest
and (predictably) attracts perfectly respectable yaps and
yuppies. It should be clear from the foregoing that serious
Magicians do not indulge in 'satanism' or 'Devil-worship.'
What leads people to the practice of Magic? Usually it is as
a result of the quest for meaning and purpose in life, which has
already been mentioned. If there is no meaning and purpose, it
follows that it rnakes no difference whether you rry to help
humanity, shop for groceries or squirt sulphuric acid at
maladjusted children: but if life does have a meaning and
purpose, then one should endesvour to discover what it is.
Many have tried and a few have discovered truths which
have created new civilizations for example, Lao Tzu,
Zoroaster, Gautama Buddha, Moses,
Jesus
called the Christ,
or Mohammed. others have contributed in less spectacular
but nevertheless important ways. These truths have been
discovered by a series of practices which alter consciousness
and use largely untapped regions of the human brain" Nearly
all teachers of these methods insist on solitude, certain rules of
health and something usually called 'meditation' or 'prayer',
which is the restraining of the mind to a single word, image or
thought.
The brain, which gave Man dominion over the planet, is the
hope for the human race; orherwise stupidity will lead
inevitably to extinction. A very small portion of the brain is
used by most people. Fortunately, there exist methods of
tapping its vast resources.
Though these methods could be called simply ways of
increasing human intelligence and potential, they are usually
done within the context of a belief system and the goal is given
a variety of names: for instance, samadhi, satori, enlighten-
ment) liberation, even the Knowledge and conversatioriof the
Holy Guardian Angel. Some of the methods used have
recently acquired intellectual respectabiliry in the silest:
yoga,
zen, Sufism, Buddhist meditation
-
howturious rhat Mrgl.,
which does rhe same thing, is often so misunderstood i'nd
despised' even though it is the most $fesrern of ways.
The method of Magic is to attain a total on!-pointed
concentration on a desired objective by using the natural
tehdency of the sfestern mind to rurn outward
lyog"
has the
same obiective, but here the mind turns inward. tvtagic might
be termed the Yoga of the sfest. The wand, cup, sw6rd, alst,
incense, robes and geometric designs use this natural t.rrd..r.y
to be stimulated by sights, sounds, scents, dramatic g.rt.rr. .rri
emotional exaltation so as to focus the will into a blaiingstream
of pure. energy wholly concentrated upon one idea orr"ly.
,
Magicians have basic PT: exerciseJ to improve relaxation,
breathing, visualization and concentration. i'tr.y use divina-
tion
- whether by astrology, geomancy, I-ching or Tarot
-
to
develop intuition and p,erception. The exer.Iu. commonly
known as 'astral travel' or 'scrying in the spirit visio#
familiarizes the practitioner
with ottrer states and orders of
being: or) according to anorher school of thought (for magi-
{Tr
aren't dogmatic), the conrents of what
Jnttg
termed
,tlhe
Collective LJnconscious'.
Evocation, or the calling forth of spirits, can be regarded as
just
that. or one could see it as a
-drasiic
psychoinalytical
process, whereby the spirit is a 'complex' and irence trapped
cnergy. \il7hat
the Magician is doing, therefore, is releasing
trapped
gnergy, hallucinating it as a personification
,r,I
leint-eg11ting
it into his psyche. or finally, o.t. could say that he
(or.she) is exploring mysterious regions ortne brain inbrder to
activate hitherto unused cells.
Invocation, or the bringing down of gods and goddesses) can
lre legarded
in at least two ways. Either there are cerrain
invisible but powerful forces of Nature in the universe, the
cxistence of which is unsuspected by physical science, and
THE APPROACH TO MAGIC
22 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
which can inspire us with beauty and truth. Or there are
certain archetypes of the Collective tlnconscious latent in allof
us which, when rightly stimulated, can inspire us with beauty
and truth.
These practices of the Magician are done within a schema of
progress, usually based upon the Tree of Life of the Kabbal-
ists. The purpose of this model is not to mystify but to clarify
and classify supra-rational states of being. It can be regarded as
being, among other things, a map of consciousness and its
various states.
Magic was known, studied and practised all over the
Mediterranean basin before and during the time of the Roman
Empire. The most unfortunate consequence of the Roman
Empire's decline and fall was a relapse by the West into
barbarism. Fortunately the civilization of Islam eventually
arose and the wick of wisdom not only burned but blazed, and
spread into Spain.
That admirable scholar, the latp Dame Frances Yares,
attributes the origins of Renaissance hermetic philosophy ro
the work of Ramon Lull of Moorish Spain. The writings of
Lull give full credit to his teachers, the Sufis. And according to
Yates and other scholars, this wisdom spread to Renaissance
figures such as Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus and
John
Dee.
This 'Renaissance Hermetic or Occult Philosophy' can be
summarized in the following nine propositions.
I All is a Unity, created and sustained by God through His Laws.
2 These Laws are predicated upon Number.
3 There is an art of combining Hebrew letters and equating them
with Number so as to perceive profound truths concerning the
nature of God and His dealings with Man.
4 Man is of divine origin. Far from being created out of dust, as in
the Geneses account, he is in essence a star daemon.
5 As such, he has come from God and must return to Him.
6 It is essential to regenerate the divine essence within Man, and this
can be done by the powers of his divine intellect.
7 According to the Kabbala, God manifests by means of ten
progressively more dense emanationsl and Man, by dedicating his
THE APPROACH TO MAGIC 23
mind to the study of divine wisdom and by refining his whole
being and by eventual communion with the angels themselves,
may at last enter into the presence of God.
8 An accurate understanding of natural processes, visible and
invisible, enables Man to manipulate these processes through the
power of his will, intellect and imagination.
9 The lJniverse is an ordered pattern of correspondences: or as
John
Dee put it, 'Whatever is in the LJniverse possesses order,
.
agreement and similar form with something else'.
The present writer concurs with the view of Yates that this
'occult philosophy' was the essence of Renaissance thought
and later powered the abortive 'Rosicrucian Movement'. To
confine the matter to England, it subsequently filtered through
a variety of individuals and organizations for example,
Robert Fludd, Elias Ashmole and certain Freemasons
-
but by
the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Scientific Revolu-
tion, so essential to human evolution and to which the
Renaissance magi had contributed so nobly, had repudiated its
ancestors; and its proponents sneered at the wisdom which had
originally inspired its thrust. It was seriously said
-
and still is
said by those ignorant of quantum physics
-
that if it cannot be
measured, it does not exist. Nevertheless, this tradition of
wisdom, now ill-dignified by the btzz word 'cranky', some-
how continued.
During the nineteenth century, the magical tradition passed
through the hands of Francis Barrett, Frederick Hockley,
Kenneth MacKenzie and Sir Edward Bulwer-Lyton: and was
influenced by the work of Eliphas Levi in France and the
foundation in 1875 of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical
Society. Various threads were then knitted together in the
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1887. The
creator and synthesizer of the Golden Dawn system was
Samuel Liddell 'MacGregor' Mathers. It was Mathers who
welded together Renaissance occult philosophy, including and
especially the Kabbala, with certain of its sources which had
come to light by his own time
- and his own inspiration. The
24
CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE THE APPROACH TO MAGIC 25
perfection of its printing, upon everyone with ambition to enter this
field of literature . . . It is recognised as the standard publication of its
kind, as an encyclopedia without'equal, son, or companion.' It has
been quoted, copied and imitated everywhere.
In its pages, Regardie found further evidence of Crowley's
proficiency at Yoga, especially demonstrated by the latter's
beautifully clear manuals of practical instruction. Liber E ael
'
Exercitiorum teaches physical clairvoyance, Asana (posture),
Pranayarna (regularization of the breathing) and Dharana
(control of thought), together with a method of investigating
one's physical limitations and a recommended course of
reading in a mere seven pages. Liber RV ael Spiitus gives
detailed teaching in Pranayarna in four and a half pages. Nor
are Crowley's prescriptions confined solely to the Way of Raia
Yoga. Liber CMXIII, also catrled Liber Thisharb, gives instruc-
tion in Gnana Yoga, the Yoga of knowledge, which consists of
training the intellect. Liber Astarte is probably the finest
document extant on Bhakta-Yoga, the Yoga of uniting oneself
to a particular deity by love and devotion. Tantric and
Kundalini Yoga, which employ sexual energy, are dealt with
too in manuals for advanced students. Liber I{HH gives three
methods of attainment through complex meditations, and its
third method, SSS, is specifically concerned with the Kunda-
lini, the Serpent Fower at the base of the spine, which rises
when correctly activated to unite with centres of energy within
the brain and confers Enlightenment: and Liber Yod gives
alternative ways of, accomplishing the same objective.
Regardie's colossal admiration for Crowley's writings on
Yoga, a subject with which he was familiar, spurred him on to
eager study of Magic, with which he was not. He learned that
the ceremonial Magician uses a variety of techniques to purify
and exalt his body, imagination, sexuality, intellect, emotions,
perception and moral character so that he is at last fitted to give
his personality to a deeper individuality. This is also called the
obtaining of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy
result was a body of knowledge and a method for taking
practical advantage of that knowledge. The entire systern, rh;
first nine volumes of which fill 870 pages in the rrt.rt .aiiio",
The complete Golden Dausn systemby tutagit (19g4),
*r, trr."
summarized and synthesized again in more concentrated
form
-
160 pages
-
within a refined paradigm deriving directly from
the sixteenrh-cenrury
'angel-magic' of yohn
Dei and Edward
Kelly. The 'Adepts', who had mast.red all the earlier knowl-
edge and praxis, consequently found themselves confronted by
a new.learning which incorporated and surpassed the old;
providing the aspirant with tt.*
-"ps
for thi exploratio' oi
other dimensions of existence, metliods for so d'oing, and a
language for communication with beings thereby encountered.
In spite of schism and much undignified squabblirrg,
".rJ
ryhgtlV
unknown to_ the young Regardie, various
;;"p;
deriving from the Golden Dawn were Jti[ pursuing
tn.fi *o'rt
in 1926. one could learn order teaching only throrigh
-..rirrt
an initiate who would agree to introduie one to thJ order, oi
through reading what Aleister crowley had published
in The
Equinox.
^
crowley's membership of the Golden Dawn, his departure
log
itsTemple, various quarrels and the histoiy of the order
itself will be explored in due course. It strffices to say that by
1909, when he commenced the publication of The Equinox,ie
had become a Master of Magick- he spelled the *ord with the
Anglo-Saxon
'l]
. .and
of Yoga in addition to the Adeptus
Minor grade of initiation which had been conferred uponiim
by Mathers back in 1900. He had his own order, the A ... A ...
Its existence was announced to the public with the slogan:
,The
Method of Science. The Aim of Religion';
"tri
it was
announced in The Equinor. As Crowley wiote in his autobio-
graphy, The Confessions:
The Equinox was the first serious atrempt to pur before the public
the facts of occult science ... From the momerit of its appearr"..,ii
imposed its standards of sincerity, scholarship, scientific seriourrr.r,
and aristocracy of all kinds, from the excellence of its English to the
26 cRowI-ny's AppRENTICE
Guardian Angel. once this is done, one knows one's true work
in the world.
But it doesn't end there. This is the srage called Adeptship.
The next task is to perfect the faculties of this
-a..p..
i$rylagaliry and then sacrifice it in a mystic marriage with
the Universe itself. (Unfortunarely, it is exceptionally difficutt
to avoid romantic language; or to communicate in words what
is beyond them, as all mystics agree.) This stage
- called the
crossing of the Abyss
-
annihilates the ego: 'the dew-drop slips
into the shining sea', to use Arnold's phrase; and there riit.r,
Master, one who has attained to Understanding.
A Master of Magic is in accord with a Master of Zen, or
Yoga, or Sufism, for all true ways are ultimately identical. but
Magicians argue that Magic, which grew up in the \7est, is
therefore better suited to the
\il(Iestern
Mind than Eastern
Y"yt,
They are aware too that just
as the Sufis, for instance,
have been vilified by orthodox Muslims and only no*
".. beginning onge again to receive their just
recognition, so Magic
has been vilified by the enemies of Li$ht and Truth.
Much of the Magician's work is done in solitude. In
part
II
of Book Four,the first part of which had so enthused Regardie,
crowley succinctly describes the tools of the cereironiai
magus:
The Magician works in a Temple; the universe, which is (be it
remembered!) conrerminous with himself. In this temple a Circle is
drawn upon the floor for the limitation of his working. This circle is
protected by divine names, the influences on which he relies to keep
out hostile thoughts. $ilithin the circle stands anAltar the solid basii
on which he works, rhe foundation of all. upon the Altar are his
wand, cup, sword and Pantacle, to represent his will, his under-
standing, his Reason, and the lower parts of his being, respectively.
on the Altar, too, is a phial of oilrsurrounded by a Scourge, a Daggir,
and a chain, while above the Altar hangs a Lamp. Tlie Magl!-i"r,
wears a Crown, a single Robe, and a Lamen, and he bears a Book of
Conjurations and a Bell.
The oil consecrares everyrhing that is touched with it; it is his
aspiration; all acts performed in accordance with that are holy. The
THE APPROACH TO MAGIC 27
scourge tortures him; the dagger wounds him; the chain binds him.
It is 6y virtue of these three that his aspiration remains pur-l
""d
it
able to consecrate all other things . .. He wears a crown to affirm his
lordship, his divinity;
"
robe to symbolise silence, and a lamen to
dechrJhis work. The book of spells or conjurations is his magical
record, his Karma. In the East is the Magic Fire, in which all burns
up at last.
The essential practices of the Magician -
divination,
bvocation and invocation - have been described earlier. Of
these, by far the most important is invocation, for this involves
calling upon a god and thus the bringing of divine or super-
consciousness into human consciousness. An example might
make clearer the nature of magical work.
It is a vital part of the Magician's task to invoke and identify
with all the gods and goddesses. Suppose, for example, that the
god in question is Horus, Egyptian god of War, Force and Fire,
ihe equivalent of the Roman Mars and the Greek Ares. The
Magician will furnish his Temple -
his laboratory or place of
working with corresponding symbols and things which
suggest and reinforce the idea of Horus. These corresponden
-
ceJ, which appear to reflect the structure of the tendencies of
the Western mind, can be looked up in Crowley's Seaen Seaen
Seaen or later magical works of reference and derive from
Golden Dawn teaching. The enquirer will find that the
Number of Horus is five
-
and so employ at least one five-
pointed star and five candles for illumination -
the element is
Fire, the plants sacred to Horus are Oak, Nux Vomica and
Nettle, the precious stone sacred to the God is the Ruby, the
appropriate weapon or magical instrument with which to
geiture is the Sword, the incense is Tobacco and/or the
iubstance known as Dragon's Blood, the metal is Iron and the
colour is Red. The Magician procures some if not all of these
and arranges the Temple with as much artistry as he can. The
place of working and the accompanying paraphernalia must
then be purified and consecrated.
There follow what are known as the Lesser Banishing
28 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram, short rituals designed
to prevent interference from any influence foreign to the
purpose of the operation. The Magician then proceeds with
the business of invocation, endeavouring ultimately to identify
with the god, to become one with him. There are a number of
tried and tested methods but much is left to the practitioner's
own ingenium. Crowley states the essence of the matter in
Magick: In Theory and Practice:
The Magician addresses a direct petition to the Being invoked. But
the secret of success in invocation has not hitherto been disclosed. It
is an exceedingly simple one. It is of practically no importance
whatever that the invocation should be 'right'. There are a thousand
different ways of compassing the end proposed, so far as external
things are concerned. The whole secret may be summarised in these
four words:'Enflame thyself in praying'.
The mind must be exalted until it loses consciousness of self. The
Magician must be carried forward blindly by a force which, though
in him and of him, is by no means that which he in his normal state
of consciousness calls I.
Just
as the poet, ilib lover, the artist, is
carried out of himself in creative frenzy, so must it be for the
Magician ...
Eaery Magician must compose l$s ceremony in such a manner as to
produce a dramatic climax. At the moment when the excitement becomes
ungoaernable, when the whole consciaus being of the Magician undcrgoes
a spiritual spasm, at that moment must he utter the supreme
adjuration ...
trnhibition is no longer possible or even thinkable, and the whole being
of the Magician, no minutest
qtom
saying nay, is inesistibly
flungforth.
In blinding light, amid the roar of ten thousand thunfurs, the Union of
God and man is consummated.
There is little point in debating whether the God thus
invoked has objective or subjective existence. Seven words of
Crowley's summarize the central point: 'By doing certain
things, certain things happen.'
In his study of The Equinox, Regardie's appreciation of
Crowley grew, for he found him to be the clearest and most
THE APPROACH TO MAGIC 29
authoritative writer on Rirual Magic. Although Regardie
initially had to struggle with unfamiliar terms, he would
express his lasting admiration fifty years later when he would
edit that masterly selection of magical writing s, Gems From The
Equinox. The instructions for practical work are the simplest
and most succinct. Liber O ael Manus et Sagittaerfor instance,
is only fifteen pages long, yet it gives instructions for
elementary study of the Kabbala, Assumption of God forms,
Vibration of Divine Names, the Rituals of the Pentagram and
the Hexagram, and their use in protection and invocation, a
method of attaining astral visions and an instruction in a
practice called Rising on the Planes. A dedicated student could
easily spend a year working on it; Regardie did. Moreover the
preliminary remarks display a refreshing common sense:
2. In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth, and the Paths, of
Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes and many other
things which may or may not exist.
It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things
certain results follow: students are most earnestly warned against
attributing obfective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.
3. The advantages to be gained from them are chiefly these:
(a) A widening of the horizon of the mind.
(b) An improvement of the control of the mind.
Crowley concentrated on the essentials of the Golden Dawn
system and endeavoured to eliminate the inessentials. In the
course of doing this, he perceived the disadvantages of group
working, which include personality clashes, squabbles and
schism; the difficulties a student may suffer in trying to link up
with genuine magical Order; and the advantages of solitude. As
a result of experiences and initiations undergone after he left
the Golden Dawn, Crowley composed new rituals of striking
beauty and power whereby a student working alone could
accomplish effective Magic.
Regardie's encounter with Magic, as he put it, 'changed the
course of my whole life'. He examined himself and 'I realised
&&
30
CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
I was no artisr.' As C,olin S7ilson aptly remarks in his
Introduction to Regardie's Encrgy,
prayir
and Relaxation:
'Fate had marked him out for a rather more suange and
interesting career.' He became good friends with Karl drmer,
who served as liaison with Crowley. The result was that
prgwlgf-evgntually offered Regardie a post as his secretary and
invited the latter to
join
him in
paris.
Although crowlef rr"a
rgceryly received arrocious publicity both in ihe Englisir and
the American guner press, Regardie seized this opfurtuniry
for adventure.
Unfortunatelp there were complications. He was not yet
tyenty-one years old, and so was legally a minor. In ordeito
obtain the necessary diplomatic instruments of uavel
- a
passport from the US State Department and a visa from the
French Consul in Washington DC
- he had to present his
father's written consent. Telling the laner that hi would be
staying with a man recently described as
.the
wickedest rqpn in
the world' was clearly out of the question, so Regardie siated
that he had been invited to stuOy painting witlil an English
artist in Paris. His father
rqed
to this and gave hinithe
necessary document for the pais:port oflice.
When it was time to obtain the French visa, however,
Regardie simply couldn't face going through the same bother-
some procedure all over again. This time he typed a letter
purpofting to come from his father and forged hii signature.
All he needed now was the boat ticket. That was fiardly a
problem. And so, as Regardie put it in The Eye InTtu Tiangle:
On the night in October 1928 when I set sail from New
york
for
Paris, there was a pleasant dinner at a good New
york
restaurant.
Present were Karl Germer and Cora Eaton, who subsequently
became his wife, Dorothy Olsen (a former mistress of Crowley), my
sister and.myseff. Convivialiry was the law that night. Eviryo;
enjoyed himself with a good dinner and good wine and gooa
conversation, except my sister who acted as a wet blanket. But onlhat
occasion nothing could dampen my spirits; it was a celebration of my
confrontation with destiny.
4
The Ifickedest Man in the World
'Do
what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.'
It was with these words that Aleister Crowley, the Great
Beast 666, greeted Israel Regardie at the Gare St Lazare, Paris.
Regardie was understandably nervous. By his own account, he
was timid, shy and inuoverted, a virgin who had led a
somewhat studious, sheltered and retiring life, which factors
made his venture all the more courageous.
These days, it is very hard indeed to understand the hysteria
aroused then by the mere mention of Crowley's name. As late
as the 1950s - a few years after Crowley's death, an ex-wife of
an ex-disciple, called The Lady by
John
Symonds in
Tlu Magic of Aleister Crwlqt and
Jean
Ovefton Fuller in
Tlrc Magical Dilemma of Victm Neuberg,would state her law for
her guests:
'That name is never to be mentioned in this house.'
It is difficult to find a contemporary parallel which would
evoke the horror aroused in all respectable citizens by the
contemplation of Regardie's action. It was looked upon,
perhaps, as if one were going to see Ian Brady, or the Kray
twins or Charles Manson for some advice. Tabloids such as
T he S unday E xpr e s s artd
J
o hn B ull had spent yards of newsprint
over many years of assassinating Crowley's character. Here are
some examples fromJofrn Bull.
THE KING OF DEPRAVITY (10 March 1923)
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE
UIORLD (24March1923)
KING OF DEPRAVITY ARRIVES (la April 1923)
A CANNIBAL AT LARGE (April 1923)
A MAN WE'D LIKE TO HANG (May 1923)
To anyone idiotic enough to believe what is printed in
publications devoid of quality and integrity, Regardie's action
32 CROItrLEY'S APPRENTICE
33
was the crassest folly with sinister aspects. Why, the poor,
Iolng,
innocent boy was clearly offering himself ai yet another
lelpless
victim of Crowley's revolting, blaci magical,
debauched and perverted blasphemy and might even be used
as a human sacrifice before being cut up, cooked and eaten by
the Beast. As for any alleged merit in Crowley,s writingg
!r4',
that great arbiter of intellectual and aestheric questions,
the Sundny Express, settled the matter on 26 November 1922?
A large number of his books are printed privately
- some of them in
kl..
Ih"y
are either incomprehensible or disgusting
-
generally
both. His language is the language of a pervert and his ideas arl
negligible.
_.
How corlld Regardie have been so naive? Or -
possibly
-
so
discerning?
The answer is distinctly ro the credit of the shy youSh who
sailed from America with his
life
savings in his pocket. He had
an independent mind which was practical and lbgical. Unlike
too many, instead of rotting ,his brains with sensationalist
nonsense, he read good books. A number of them were written
by Crowley. Regardie could not honestly believe that the
auth9l of these good books, which had inspired him beyond
anything he had ever known, given him clear instructions for
the attainment of states of consciousness after which he sought
so earnestlyr and stimulated his mind to an unanticipated
degree, could be the same man as the character of fiction whom
the press kept calling a vile monster.
Fortunately, Regardie was right. The facts of the matrer
bear no relation to the ludicrous lies the most irresponsible
papers printed. How did this extraordinary dichotomy
between truth and falsehood arise? It is necessary to inspeCt
this matter, for Crowley would have a dynamic,life-long effect
on Regardie.
Aleister Crowley was born Edward Alexander Crowley on
12 October 1875 at Leamington Spa,
u(arwickshire.
His
father, Edward Crowley, was a wealthy, retired brewer.
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD
His mother, Emily Bertha Bishop, came from a Devon and
Somerset family. Both parents were Plymouth Brethren: that
is to say they were members of the extreme Christian sect,
founded by
John
Nelson Darby, which insists on the literal
interpretation of the Bible as the exact words of the Holy
Ghost. Crowley survived this upbringing and unsurprisingly,
rebelled against it in his teens. After unhappy periods at
various schools, .including Malvern and Tonbridge,
interspersed with periods of severe illness and education at the
hands of private tutors, he went up to Trinity College,
Cambridge in 1895. Although he thoroughly enjoyed his time
there, he left in 1898 without taking a degree. He had inherited
a sum of roughly
{40,000,
a fortune by the standards of the
time, and was 'white-hot'on three pursuits: poetry, mountai-
neering and Magic.
His first published poem wai Acaldcna (1898) and, from
that time on, poetry would pour from his pen so that during
1905-7 he would issue his CollectedlVorks in three substantial
volumes. As a mountaineer he undertook climbs on Beachy
Head, the Lake District and the Alps which have never been
repeated. As an aspiring Magician he
joined
the Golden Dawn
in 1898 and speedily passed its examinations and climbed up its
Grade system, assisted by intensive tuition from his great
friend, the Adept Allan Bennett.
In 1900 a serious quarrel erupted between the Order Head,
Mathers, then living in Paris, and his deputies in London.
There were a number of issues: one was Crowley. The London
chiefs strongly disapproved of the latter's reckless sex-life: by
contrast, Mathers - who was married but celibate -
insisted
that a member's private life was entirely his or her own affair.
The London chiefs refused to grant Crowley the intiation into
Adeptship to which he was fully entitled and so the latter
travelled to Paris, received it from Mathers and took his side in
the quarrel, returning to London as his envoy. After a series of
complex events beyond the scope of this work, Crowley
decided that he was simply too inexperienced to cope with the
legal and
-
he claimed
-
magical assaults of the London
v CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
Adepts, who included the poet,
tVilliam
Buder Yeats, and
departed for Mexico.
There he achieved a series of world mountaineering records
with his friend and partner, Oscar Eckenstein, and went oR to
C-eylon, where his mentor, Allan Bennett, was now domiciled.
Here Crowley studied and practised Yoga, aaaining the trance
of Dhyana, before proceeding to rejoin Eckenstein for an
abortive but record-setting attempt to climb K2, the world's
second highest mountain. After further travels in India and
Burma, he returned to his home in Scotland, 1903. There he
married Rose Kelly, sister of Sir Gerald, later President of the
Royal Academy. There was an extended honeymoon, involv-
ing tavel through France, Italy, Egypt and India, before the
couple retumed to Egypt for the experience Crowley regarded
as being the most important of his eventful life.
Rose, who had virnrally no interest in Magic, asked Crowley
to perform a minor ritual purely out of curiosity.-Soon
afterwards, she was possessed by a suange inspiration and
declared to her husband that 'they are waiting for you',
eventually informing him that'thby' meant in particular the
God Horus. A sceptical Crowley carried out a series of tests--
based upon the traditional correspondences of the god and
although Rose had no knowledge at all of occultism, she
guessed correctly every time against total odds of 21,168,000 to
1. Some bewildering coincidences followed, all of which
identified Crowley with The Beast 666 of Revelations. The
upshot of all this was that Crowley performed an invocation to
Horus and obeyed his wife's instructions to sit at a desk in his
hotel room on 8, 9 and l0 April 1904 between 12 noon and I
o'clock. A being which announced himself as Aiwass appeared
behind him on each occasion and dictated to him the three
chapters of a book called Liber AL oel Legis or The Book of the
Law.
Judged
on one level,Thc Book of the Lmt is an extraordinar-
ily beautiful prose-poem but it declares itself to be much,
much more. It proclaimed nothing less than that an
fue
had
come to an end, that of Osiris, the God who died and rose
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE VORLD 35
again, known also as Adonis, Attis, Dionysus and
Jesus
Christ:
and the age of Horus, the Crowned and C,onquering Child of
Isis and Oriris, had replaced it. Crowley was hailed as The
Beast 666, Prophet of a New Aeon, in which the supreme
commandment would be: Do what thou wih shall be the whole of
tlrc law.
This does not mean anything as trite as 'Do whatever you
want.' It means: find.your True Will - whether it be the
making of books or the making of tables, the farming of land or
the running of industry, the way of the warrior or the way of
the lover
-
and do that and nothing else. Do what thouwihbids
water to seek its level, sheep to eat grass and wolves to eat
sheep. Yet surprisingly, Crowley wholly reiected the role
which had been so unexpectedly thrust upon him and found
Ttrc Book of the Law to be uncomfortable reading. Philosophi-
cally, he was then a Buddhist, and so could not accept its bald
assertion that'Existence is pure joy.' As a Romantic humanit-
arian, he was put offby its exdtation in the destruction of the
Old Aeon. As a sceptic, he was embarrassed by its railing of
him as The Beast 666, come to destroy the power of
Christianity and liberate Mankind, for he regarded a belief in
oneself as The Great Prophet as evidence of delusion and
insanity. Within a short space of time, he lost the manuscript.
In 1905; Crowley led another abortive but record-setting
mountaineering expedition, this time an attempt on Kang-
chenjunga, the world's third highest mountain. There fol-
lowed a
journey
through Southern China and a series of
intense mystical and magical experiences. Returning to Lon-
don, he continued to write poetic and mystical literature,
founded his magical Order, the A .'. A .'., and commenced
publication of The Equinox in 1909. That was also the fateful
year when he found the missing manuscript of The Book of tlrc
Laat after five years of fighting against its acceptance: this time
he embraced it whole-heartedly; it became the spine of his life.
A series ofextraordinary experiences undergone in the Sahara
confirmed him in his belief, his conviction that as The Beast
666, it was his divinely appointed task to redeem humanity
36 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
from what he termed'the slave-gods'and bring about the New
Aeon.
The next few years were difficult though productive.
Crowley's marriage broke up, which caused him much
personal agony, and his fortune was exhausted. The gufter
press commenced its attacks upon him. Yet he managed to
travel, write a number of extremely fine magical and poetical
works
-
including Book Four
- supervise his Order, become
English-speaking Head of another magical Order, the Ordo
Templi Orientis, investigate the effects of sex and drugs upon
consciousness and love freely. From 1914 to 1919, he lived in
the United States. It is alleged that he supported his magical
endeavours by turning traitor during the First l7orld War and
writing pro-German propaganda: and also that he was in fact
working for British Naval Intelligence. In the opinion of the
present writer, the latter was the case; the evidence for this has
been presented in my Legacy of The Beast; and certainly,
Crowley was not prosecuted tas a traitor on his renrrn to
England.
In 1920 The Beast founded his Abbey of Thelema at Cefalu,
Sicily. This was soon the target of the gutter press and after
some years of productive work, Crowley was finally expelled
by order of Mussolini n 1923. From 1923 to 1928 Crowley
divided his time between North Africa, notably Tunisia,
Germany, where he had been elected World Head of the Ordo
Templi Orientis, and Paris. When Regardie met Crowley, the
latter was living in a comfortable apartment with'Miroslava',
his misuess.
All this sounds wholly laudable and innocent, almost tame.
Then why did Crowley become the target of a campaign of
vilification perhaps without parallel in English literary history?
There are a number of reasons, or more correctly, since one is
exploring a manifestation of hysteria, a number of causes. No
one can whitewash Aleister Crowley, which is fornrnate.
C-ertainly he had his vices and he never veiled them in virnrous
words. He was, among many other things, a Late Viaorian bad
boy. Today we would call him a Superbrat. He could be
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD
arrogant, disdainful and insulting. On the credit side, he always
said exacdy what he thought; an admirable practice which
usually offends smug, self-righteous people. He liked sex very
much and had no problem in attracting beautiful people to
enjoy it with him, thus arousing the
iealous
fury of the
repressed and incapable. He took drugs - so do so many and so
what?
-
but this provoked morbid enmity among the neurotic.
If someone accused him of cannibalism, for instance, and cited
an alleged incident, he would calmly respond that the accusa-
tion was too mild and, with every appearance of sincerity,
demand that 150 crimes of cannibalism per year for the years
l9l2-28 also be taken into consideration: and then would be
wholly astounded to find his statements printed and believed.
Above all else, however, he advocated the evolution of
human consciousness which, he argued, following Thc Book of
the Laasrbegins with a recognition and acceptance ofour reality
as animals who should live according to the Law of Nature;
after which, and only after which, we can progress to the Great
Work of higher evolution. People who tell truths are usually
lied about and persecuted and so was he.
What could Regardie learn from Cowley? Firstly, he hoped
for personal tuition in Magic and to this end, Regardie had
been working dihgently at the appropriate practices, going so
far as to use the tiny ship's cabin in which he had crossed the
Atlantic as a magical temple. He hoped also for personal tuition
in Yoga. He wanted to learn all he could from a Master he
admired -
yet, as is often the case with these matters, his time
with Crowley was hardly as he had expected. He had reckoned
without a variety of factors, including Crowley's remarkable
ability to cause spiritual crises in people.
According to Regardie, this had nothing to do with
Crowley's allegedly'staring','hypnotic','mesmeric' or'fright-
ening'eyes: he found them simply'small, warm, friendly and
alive' and they 'gleamed pleasantly over the dark bags beneath
them'. However, there were other aspects of Crowley which he
found disconcerting.
37
38 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
When I arrived in Paris
[Regardie
told the present writer], I had
about twelve hundred dollars on me, my entire life savings. ![ell,
suddenly Crowley said: 'Got any money on you, Regardie?'and like
the young fool I was, I handed it over and he went and spent ir on
champagne and brandy - always the best for him
- and I never saw
it again. Except in another sense. Later, when I was stuck in Brussels
for months because I couldn't get entry back into England, it was the
old man who supported me financially throughout that time, so it all
worked out even. Then when I finally arrived in England, he had a
few quid so he sent me to his tailor in
fermyn
Street, as I recall. 'One
needs a good suit in England, Regardier' he said. 'Have one made and
tell them to send me the bill.'
Regardie was a little disturbed by his first dinner with Crowley
and Miroslava, who hailed from Poland. The excellent meal
was served with the utmost style and ceremonial formalities
-
Regardie worried over which knife and fork to use for the
various courses. Then, as the cpgnac came round: 'Crohley
pounced on Miroslava and they fell down on the floor and
started fucking like a pair of animals right there in front of me.
Today that wouldn't bother me one
jot,
but then ... I was so
amazed I think I
just
staggered out of the room.'
One evening Miroslava had dinner with Regardie, told him
she'd packed her bags and was leaving Crowley that very night
and entrusted him with the unpleasant duty of telling Crowley
the news. Crowley received it impassively then made his
deadpan reply: 'The Lord hath given. The Lord hath taken
away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.' And that was that.
Crowley soon found a replacement in Maria Teresa de
Miramar, a High Priestess of Voodoo from Nicaragua, whom
Regardie described as'a magnificent animal of a woman'. But
as he later reminisced:
That pair used to have the most godawful rows, though. The trouble
was that Crowley loved giving it to her up the arse and she used to get
sick of it. When she was annoyed, she suddenly used to tum on him
and hiss: 'Pederast!'And he'd be going: 'Oh, mon clurierhow can you
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD 39
lly
this to me?' as he tried to kiss her and she'd still be hissing
'Pedzrast!'until finally he grabbed her and they'd start fucking again.
one frequent and welcome visitor to this unlikely
parisian
T6nage
was Gerald Yorke, then an impassioned disciple of
Crowley. Yolke was an English country gentleman, educated
at Eton and Cambridge,.who'd
once pliyed first-class counry
cricket for Gloucestershire. According to Regardie,
'
Yorke and I never had a great deal in common. There were only
occasional distant-friendly chats. our only bond of union was oui
common interest in crowley, otherwise we would never have met.
But I do recall, on one occasion when he let his hair down or I did,
*d.y-9. mutually confessed our latent apprehensions about thi
possibility of 'the old boy', as we familiarty iaUea him, trying some
homosexual monkey-tricks with either one. we were both ietiivea to
find out that we shared this anxiety ... And we were even more
relieved that nothing really had *anipired.
Both Yorke and Regardie also marvelled at Crowley's
mastery of chess. Crowley would play against both of them at
qnce; they would sit with their boards before them; and
Crowley would sit in an adjacent room, sipping cognac as he
held an-acqrratepicture of both boards in hiimind
--and
go on
to beat both of them.
Regardie's secretarial duties were not too onerous. Back in
the United States and with his customary thoroughness, he
hadprepared himself by purchasing a Stenotype, a-shorthand
machine, and- through practice acquired a woikable speed of
well over a hundred.words per minute. Crowley's major
preoccupation
at that time was attending to the pubiicationof
a masterpiece, Magick: In Tluory and
practii,
and to the
extensive correspondence he conducted, but early on he
anended to a minor detail of Regardie's personal appea.attc..
Crowley began by dictating a letter to
-an
unnamed corres-
pondent. Regardie dutifully took the letter down, typing more
40 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
or less automatically. Then, as he later recalled in Tlu Eye in
tlu Tiangle:
towards the end of the letter, in the last paragraph, he added quite
nonchalandy, something to the effect that you might consider
examining your fingernails more closely. Other people do, and judge
you accordingly. An occasional manicure might prove more than
useful, etc., etc.
In my stupidity and absent-mindedness, I had typed all of this
down, never once realising that he was doing this for my sake, and
that he had not wished to hurt my feelings by calling attention to the
fact that my fingernails were not well cared for, and that the general
appearance of my hands could be improved. It did not occur to me
until some years later that this had been a device he had used to help
the.
Crowley alsoendeavoured to assist Regardie to overcome his
timidity. He advised him temporarily to relinquish his"inter-
ests in Magic and Mysticism infavour of walking and working
his way around the world to familiarize himself with every
conceivable vice. As Crowley himself had been inspired to
write many years before: 'Go thou into the outermost places
and subdue all things. Subdue thy fear and thy disgust. Then
-
yield!' Regardie did not take this advice and in later life
criticized it as dl too likely to exacerbate the very fears and guilt
it was intended to eradicate. 'I think his insights were superb,
but his techniques for dealing with neurotic problems were
woefully inadequate.' However, Crowley did insist that
Regardie lost his virginity as quickly as possible and more or
less ordered him to visit prostitutes.
Yet much to Regardie's surprise, Crowley did not offer to
give him any technical instruction in Magic or Yoga. 'I kept on
expecting the old man to say: "Right! Show me how you do the
Pentagram." But he never did. And I was too shy to bother
him.'This was the trouble. Crowley was no longer interested
in spoonfeeding earnest young srudents. He expected them to
get on with their work and if there were any problems, he was
sure they would demand his help. Under those circumstances,
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD 4t
he would have given assisrance gladly
- but the move had to
come from the student. Regardie didn't realize this and was too
much in awe of his teacher. So instead Crowley indulged in a
favourite hobby of that time, which was devouring detective
stories, and Regardie wondered what he was doing wrong and
felt neglected. It took him years to understand the dynamics of
the situation: ironically enough, he himself was uslng Crow-
ley's method at the time I came to know him.
Nevertheless, this substantial disappointment did not pre-
vent Regardie from continuing with his magical pracices and
ferociously studying every C,rowley booli or unpublished
manuscript available at the apartment on Avenue de Suffren,
and acquiring an encyclopaedic view of Crowley's output. He
was thrilled and inspired by passages from Crowley's Diaries
which described personal experiences, such as the following:
When therefore I had made ready the chamber, so that all was dark,
save for the Lamp upon the Aliar, I began ai recorded above, to
inflame myself in praying, calling upon my Lord ... And the
Chamber was filled with that wondrous glow of ultraviolet light self-
luminous, without a source, that hath no counterpart in Nature
unless it be in that Dawn of the North . . . Then subtln easily, simply,
imperceptibly gliding I passed away into nothing. eia t iii
yrapped in the black brilliance of my Lord, that interpenetrated me
in every part, fusing its light with my darkness, and leaving there no
darkness, but pure light. Also I beheld my Lord in a figure and I felt
the interior trembling kindle itself into a Kiss
- and I perceived the
true Sacraments
- and I beheld in one moment all the mystic visions
in one; and the Holy Grail appeared unto me, and many other
inexpressible things were known of me (fohn St
John,lX)8j.
Regardie now had full confirmation that Crowley was, in
Francis King's words:
the synthesizer of an occult system of great clarity, consistency,
intellecnral power and, sometimes, beauty.
The three main strands that Crowley wove into the intricate
pattern of his 'Magick' . . . were the ritual magic and system of occult
42 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD
In examination for physical practices, there is a standardised test. In
Asana, for instance, the candidate must remain motionless for agiven
time, his success being gauged by poising on his head a cup filled
with water to the brim; if he spill one drop, he is rejected.3
The next stage is that of Practicus who 'is expected to
complete his intellectual training, and in particular to study the
Kabbala'.a He will then be fitted to pass the required test.
In intellecnral questions, the candidate must display no less mastery
of his subject than if he were entered in the 'final' for Doctor of
Science or Law at a first class University ... In the Kabbala, the
candidate must discover for himself, and prove to the examiner
beyond all doubt, the properties of a number never previously
examined by any student.5
In the words of another system, he must become adept in
Gnana Yoga.
The task of the Philosophus, the following Grade, is 'to
complete his moral training'.6 This moral training is in fact
-
and at last
-
undemanding for all who do not suffer from the
sickness of guilt. 'Each member must make it his main work to
discover for himself his own true will, and to do it, and do
nothing else.'? The Philosophus is also tested in Devotion to
the Order and must succeed in Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of Love
or Devotion to a Deity. There follows an intermediate Grade
between Initiate and Adept called Dominus Liminis who'is
expected to show mastery of Pratyahara and Dharana'.8 In
other words, he must become adept in Raia Yoga.
Success here leads to the next Grade of Adeptus Minor
(without) who is'expected to perform the Great Work and to
anain the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian
Angel'.e This is the climax; this is the point to which all
practices have led. If the Great Work is accomplished, he
knows and does his Will and as an Adeptus Minor (within)'is
admined to the formula of the Rosy Cross on entering the
43
correspondences employed by the initiates of the occult fratemity
known as the Golden Dawn, the sexo-magicd practices of the Order
of Oriental Templars, and the religious, historical and philosophical
teachings of The Book of the Law, an intensely beautiful but often
cryptic prose-poem which had, he claimed, been communicated to
him by Aiwass in April l9[,4 (Introduction to Crowley on Christ).
Mr King is quite right, though there is even more to the
matter. Yoga plays a vital part in Crowley's synthesis. An
attitude of scepticism is consistently encouraged too; the motto
of The Equinox was indeed 'The Aim of Religion' but it was
equally 'The Method of Science'. Further, Crowley was the
greatest occult scholar of the cennrry and made invaluable
contributions to the study of Kabbala, Astrology and Tarot.
Regardie took as his magical name The Serpent and
explored Crowley's Way, which was structured as a series of
Grades. The first is that of Student, whose business it*is to
acquire a general intellecnral knowledge of allmaiot systems of
attainment. In the ensuing Grade of Probationer, the task is 'to
begin such practices as he may prefer and to write a careful
record of the same for one year'.r On the face of it, this sounds
laughably easy. In fact, only a minority survive the course.
Their intention arouses every manner of opposition, both
within and without themselves.
One who is tough enough to persist becomes a Neophyte,
and from now on the Grades correspond to the ten Sephiroth
of the Tree of Life of the Kabbalists, a matter which will be
explained in its proper place. The principal task of ttre
Neophyte is 'to acquire perfect control of the Astral Plane'.2 In
ordei to succeed, the Neophyte will have to acquire a fair
mastery of basic magical technique and of basic Yoga practices,
for on one level, 'perfect control of the Astral Plane' means
perfect control of the imagination and unconscious. In the
iucceeding Grade of Zelator, the main work is to achieve
success in Asana and Pranayama. In other words, the aspirant
must become a proficient Hatha Yogi, adept in posture and
breath conuol; and the examination is hardly easy:
44 CROIWLEY'S APPRENTICE
College of the Holy Ghost'.r0 That is to say that he or she is
enabled to practise the highest forms of Sex Magick.
After a period of work, the next Grade of Adeptus Maior
ensues and here he 'obtains a general mastery of practical
Magick, though without comprehension'.rr This includes 'a
proper comprehension of the virnres of perfumes (which) is of
the utmost importance to the work of the Adeptus Maior, for
they constitute the most vital link between the material and
astrd planes, and it is precisely this link which the Adeptus
Major most intimately needs.'r2 One who succeeds in forging
this link can proceed to the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus who
'completes in perfection all these matters'r3 and should write a
thesis which sets forth his comprehension of the Universe.
There is then a choice. The Exempt Adept can try to hold
onto dl he has attained, refusing the next ordeal. If so, he
becomes a Brother of the Left Hand Path and will ultimately
destroy himself. Or he can take the Oath of the Abyss, wheraby
he'is stripped of all his attainmerrs and of himself as well, even
of his Holy Guardian Angel, and becomes a Babe of the Abyss,
who, having transcended the Reason, does nothing butgrow in
the womb of its mother'.ra You haveto give up dl thatyou have
and all that you are. You must die in order to be rbborn.
One who succeeds in crossing the Abyss is reborn as a
Master of the Temple or Magister Templi. His (or her) task is
'to tend his
"garden"
of disciples, and to obtain a perfect
understanding of the Universe. He is a Master of Samadhi'.rs
Very few human beings have ever attained to the Grade of
Magus. It is said that there were eight: Lao Tzu, Siddartha
(Gautama Buddha), Krishna, Tahuti (Thoth), Moseh
(Moses), Dionysus, Mahmud (Mohammed) and Perdurabo
(Crowley), though it is thought that there may have been a few
others who aligned their Wills with the lford uttered by the
Magus. The Magus'attains to wisdom, declares his law . .. and
is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense''r6
The supreme Grade of Ipsissimus 'is beyond all this and
beyond all comprehension of those of lower degrees'.r7
However, Regardie's study of these exalted matters would
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD
be rudely intermpted by the events of March 1929. Back in the
United States, the sister who had been such a wet blanket on
the eve of Regardie's deparnrre, proceeded to leaf through
some of her brother's Crowley books and was unerly appalled.
As a result she dashed offto the French Consul in Washington,
DC and told him some preposterous story concerning the
dreadful dangers to which her naive brother had unwiaingly
exposed himself. The Consul promised to refer the matter
back to Paris for investigation. In consequence Crowley and
Regardie came under the scrutiny of the S0ret6 G6n6rale. An
inspector called at the apartment and it took some time to
convince him that a coffee-brewing machine was not in fact
some infernal device for distilling drugs. To complicate the
issue further, it soon transpired that Regardie had neglected to
obtain an identity card. Matters came to a climax owing to
further events narrated by Louis Wilkinson in Seuen Fieflh;
(Crowley) was offered a substantial sum of money to cast horosqrpes
for a girl and a man with indications that the two were exceptionally
well suited to each other and destined to a happy marriage. This was
suggested by a sale indiaidu who would have had a considerable
commission if the marriage had happened: the girl was rich. Crowley,
at that time particularly hard up, refused. The individual then told
him that he could and would prevent the renewal of his visa if he did
not cast the horoscope. Crowley, knowing that this was so, knowing
the man's back-stairs pull with the authorities concerne{ still
refused ...
On 8 March 1929 refus dc s4jours were handed out to
Crowley for being a German spy and drug addia, to Marie de
Miramar for associating with him and to Regardie for
associating with him and for not possessfury a valid carte
d'identit6. Crowley promptly claimedthat he was ill, inorderto
gain time to institute some form of legal proceedings to reverse
the expulsion notices but Marie and Regardie had to leave
within twenty-four hours. They took the boat across the
English Channel but, despite the fact that Regardie had of
45
46 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
course been born in London, they were not permitted to land
on British soil on the grounds that as colleagues of Crowley,
they were'undesirable aliens'. Eventually they gained entry to
Belgium and went to Brussels.
This expulsion was for me guilt by association, Regardie wrote in Ifte
Eye of tlu Tiangle. In those days, so massive was my sense of
culpability, that I felt as profoundly ashamed of the refus de s6jour as
if I had actually been guilty of the most heinous crimes. My
emotional anguish at that time was considerable.
C,rowley's deparnrre from France
-
for the authorities were
wholly unwilling to consider any appeal - was blazoned in the
headlines of the international press. On his arrival in England,
Colonel Carter of Scotland Yard was anxious enough to visit
Gerdd Yorke and wam him against Crowley. Yorke
responded by setting up a dinner where Carter met Crowley
and had a most enioyable eveaing. Crowley then set out for
Brussels where Regardie awaited his arrival with great appre-
hension
-
for during his time with Marie, she had seduced him.
The laner was understandably concerned about The Beast's
reaction when, inevitably, he would discover the fact
- but
there was none. In contemporary vernacular, he was totally
cool about it.
Regardie stayed in Brussels, typing Crowley's The Confes-
sions for ultimate publication, while Crowley and de Miramar
went on to Berlin, where they married. The reason for this was
to facilitate Marie's entry into Britain, which occurred at the
end of the summer. Possibly owng to the good offices of
C-olonel Carter, Regardie managed to gain entry to England
around November L929 ard
joined
Crowley at the house he
had rented at Knockholt in Kent.
It was not a serene household by any means ...
[Regardie
recalled] I
found Crowley ill with a severe bout of phlebitis, while Marie
suffered with colitis, boredom and loneliness, and excessive drinking
. . . Marie coped with her boredom not only through the ingestion of
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD 47
alcohol, brlt by painting with oils, a preny messy and unproducrive
business.rs
Crowley's principal preoccupation was now The Mandrake
Prys9. Pergy Reginald Stephensen, a friend, neighbour and
admirer of Crowley's literary gifts, had set it up with his
partner, a Mr Goldstein, to publish The Beast's works. Tie
Stratagem and Other Stories, a novel entitled Moonchild, and.
the first rwo volumes of a projected six-volume set of The
Confessions duly came off the press but most English book-
sellers wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Crowley. It was
grgposed
-to
overcome sales resistance by bringing out a
defence of the latter, making use of a big
jcrapboot
of Uoot
reviews and notices, hffiy of them extremely favourable,
yhi"h Crowley had assiduously collected over the years.
p.
R.
S_tephensen took the credit for writing Ttw Legmi of Aleister
9r*!q,
thorleh he was substantially assisted throughout by
Is1a9l Regardie
- who has rightly been credited in subsequent
editions. However, in 1939 when the work first appeared, it
sold slowly and poorly in spite of its many meriisJ it failed
"tt9t1y
to eradicate the booksellers' refusal to handle Crowley;
and The Mandrake Press ultimately went into liquidation.
-
Crowley could no longer afford to keep on Regardie as his
secretary and so the two men parted amicably. Regardie
promptly found employment as secretary to the writer Thomas
Burke
- notable especially for his powerful tale of horror,
Johnson
Looked Back
- enjoyed the experience and forever
afterwards looked back on Burke with rtspect, affection and
gratitude, for it was this man who encouraged Regardie to seek
a publisher for a manuscript he had written. A Garden of
Pomegranates duly appearedn 1932 and was succeeded in ttre
same year by Tlu Tree of Life: A Study in Magic. We shall look
in detail at their contents and consequences in due course. For
the p_resent one should note thatl GardBn of
pomegranares
has
the following dedication:'To ANKH-AF-NA-KHONSU,
the priest of the princes, I gratefully dedicate this work.'This
refers to Crowley. It was his magical name as the Scribe who
48 cRorvI.Ey's AppRENTIcE
took down The Book of the Law. The Tree of Ltfe is dedicated
'with poignant memory of what might have been, to Marsyas'.
Again, Marsyas is Crowley in his mystical poem'AHA!'and
Regardie's words display his disappointment in Crowley's
apparent neglect of his aspirations. Nevertheless, cordial
relations continued, and one can discern a growing confidence
in Regardie. For instance, when Crowley wanted to divorce de
Miramar and thought that the best way to do that would be if
he was the plaintiff, it was Regardie who pointed out the
objections.
It is too bad that wasn't thought of several monrhs ago when Maria
received your letter stating that you had committed adultery
umpteen times and that only the rigours of travelling prevented the
number being greater. The letter must have caused you a great deal
of pleasure when written, but, alas, it prevents you even thinking of
being a plaintifffor divorce now. One can't have it both ways.
It wasn't until roughly fiJ. y."r, later in 1937 that the
quarrel erupted. Regardie sent Crowley a warm note, enclos-
ing a copy of one of his more recent books. Crowley responded
by
ioking
about the name 'Francis', which Regardie had
recently taken, threw in some anti-semitic slur and facetiously
called him'Frank'. Regaidie was outraged.
His slurs struck a raw nerve. Among my weakest character traits at
that time was a sensitivrty to criticism, valid or invalid. It still abides
with me, though the passing years have attenuated it considerably.
But in those days I was inclined to be more hot-headed than I am
now, so that I retorted as nastily as I thought he had chided me (The
Eye in the Tiangle).
'Darling Alice,
You really are a contemptible bitch! ...' ran the
opening of Regardie's rejoinder, which Crowley took as an
inexcusable sneer at his own homosexual tendencies and for
which he never forgave Regardie. The revenge of The Beast
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD 49
was particularly unpleasant and consisted of a scurrilous
document circulated to Regardie's friends and acquaintances.
Israel Regudywas bor,n in the neighborhood of Mile End Road, in
one of the vilest slums in London.
Of this faa he was morbidly conscious, and his racial and social
shame embittered his life from the start.
'Regardie' is the blunder of a recruiting sergeant in Washington on
the occasion of his brother enlisting in thJ United States-Army.
Regudy adopted this error as sounding less
Jewish.
,Francis'
which
he has now taken appears to be a pure invention.
About the year 1924 he began to study the work of, and
corresponded with, Mr Aleister Crowley. He put up so plausible an
appeal that the latter gentleman paid his passage from America and
accepted him as a regular student of Magic.
-
Apart from his inferiority complex, he was found to be suffering
from severe chronic constipation, and measures were taken to curl
him of this and dso his ingrained habit of onanism.
The cure in the laner case was successfd but Regudy abused his
freedom by gorng under some
intractable gonorrhoea.
railway arches and acquiring an
Mr Crowley supplied him with shelter, food and clothing for over
two.years, and was ultimately able to get him a good job
as Book-
keeper and Secretary to a firm ofpublishers.
Regudy betrayed, robbed and insulted his benefactor.
For some years his life was somewhat obscure, but he seems to
have been wandering for the most part around the \[est of England
as a vagrant, existing on the charity, according to some accounts, of
various elderly womn; according to otheis, of some obscure
religious orders.
His studies in the Kabbala and Magic enabled him to ingratiate
himself with Dion Fornrne, who picked him out of his misJry and
helped him in every possible way.
He betrayed, robbed and insulted his benefactress.
Being now a little more on his feet, he was able to move about more
lt :ty,
*d:o9l managed to scrape acquaintance with a middle-aged
lady occupied in varieties of 'healing' by massage and other deviles.
He switched over to this form of human lctivity, and made
considerable sums of money. He was thus able to betray, rob and
50 cRowt.Ey's AppRENTTcE
insult his benefactress, go over to America, and start a quackery of his
own.
Needless to say, there is barely one word of tmth in this
horrible libel, which shows Crowley at his most vengeful,
vicious and spiteful. Unfornrnately, the document liad a
relatively wide circulation, and as late as 1969, it was mailed to
Regardie by an unknown personal enemy. It says much for his
courage, integrity and self-confidence that he published the
qtgmpled character assassination in full in Tlu Eye in the
Tiangle (1970).
However, from a magical point of view, the consequences
were personally devastating. Possibly Regardie had cbme to
look upon Crowley as a father-figure and so was for many years
wounded and scarred by this vituperative rejection. He inturn
rejected Crowley and repudiated all contacr with other
Magicians, remaining wholly divorced from the occult rhove-
ment for very many years.
{r
In due course we shall be exploring Regardie,s activities
during those years and the developments which eventually led
him back to The Beast, though after another manner. His pain
and anger can readily be understood. Yet in late maturitl', he
would look back wryly on his time with'the wickedest man in
the world'and state soberly and sincerely: 'Everything I am
today, I owe to him.'
Notes
I
The vast majority of quotations are taken from Crowley's essay One Star
in Sight, published as an Appendix in Magick: In Theory and-practice
2
Ibid.
3
Ibid.
4
lbid.
5
Ibid.
6
Ibid.
7
lbid.
I
Ibid.
THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD
e
lbid.
t0
Ibid.
rr
Ibid.
]l lrowley,
Seuen Seoen Satm, (1907)
13
Crowley, Oru Star in Sight.
14
Ibid.
'5
Ibid.
t6
lbid.
t7
lbid.
r8
Regardie, Introduction to 2nd edn of The Legend of Areister crmorey
(1e83).
5l
FIRST FRUITS 53
5
First Fruits
'All sorts ofbooks have been written on the Kabbala, some poor,
some few others extremely godr' Regardie wrote in his Inuo-
duction to the second edition ofl Gardm of
pomegranates,frst
published by Rider & Co. n 1932.
But I came to feel the need for what might be called a sort of Berlitz
handbook, a concise but comprehensive introduction, studded with
diagrams and tables of easily understood definitions and correspon-
dences to simplify the srudent's grasp of so complicated and abstruse
a subject.
D-uring a short retirement in North Devon in lg3l, I begnn to
amalgamate my notes. It was out o{ghese that I Gardcn of
pomegran-
ares gradually emerged. I unashamedly admit that my Uoot contains
many directplagiarismsfrom Crowley, Waite, Eliphas Levi, and D. H.
Lawrence. I had incorporated numerous fragments from their works
into my notebooks without citing individual references to the various
sources from which I condensed my notes . .. I was only twenty-four
at the time.
Well and good: but what zs Kabbala? One could do worse than
give the answer of the late Dame Frances
yates:
The word means'tradition'. It was believed that when God gave the
Law to_Moses He gave also a second revalation as to the secret meaning
ofthe Law. This esoteric tadition was said to have been passed dowi
the ages orally by initiates. It was a mysticism and a cult but rooted in
the text of the Scriptures, in the Hebrew language, the holy language
in_.which God had spoken to man (Ttu Occitt
philosiphy
in tlu
Elizabethan Age).
During the Renaissance, Kabbala became an integral part of
what was earlier termed The Occult Philosophy, and it is
perhaps helpful to remind the reader of certain relevant tenets.
I All is a Unity, created and sustained by God through His Laws.
2 These Laws are predicated upon Number.
3 There is an art ofcombining Hebrew letters and equating them with
Number so as to perceive profound truths concerning the nature of
God and His dealings with Man.
7 According to the Kabbala, God manifests by means often progres-
sively more dense emanations: and Man, by dedicating hiJmind to
the study of divine wisdom, by refining his whole being and by
eventual communion with the angels themselves, may at last enter
into the presence of God.
9 The Universe is an ordered pattern of correspondences: or as Dr
Dee put it: 'Whatever is in the Universe possesses order, agreement
and similar form with something else (Gerald Suster,
John
Dee:
E s s ential Re adings, 1986).
We will recall too how S. L. 'MacGregor'Mathers welded
together Renaissance occult philosophy, including and espe-
cially the Kabbala, with certain of its sources which had come to
light by this time
- and his own inspiration
- in the creation of rhe
Golden Dawn system. However, the practical use of Kabbalaby
magicians and mystics has still to be defined and in Sanen Seam
Sanett, Aleister Crowley gives the most succinct answer ever
written:
Kabbala is
(a) A language fitted to describe certain classes of phenomena and to
express certain classes ofideas which escape regular phraseology.
you
might as well object to the technical terminology of chemistry.
O)
An unsectarian and elastic terminology by means of whiih it is
possible to equate the mental processes of people apparently diverse
owing to the constraint imposed upon them by the peculiaritiis oftheir
literary expression. You might as well object to a lexicon or a rreatise
on comparative religion.
(c) A system of syrnbolism which enables thinkers to formulate their
ideas with complete precision and to find simple expression for
54 cRowLEY's APPRENTTcE
complex thoughts, especially such as include previously disconnected
orders of conception. You might as well object to algebraic symbols.
(d) An instrument for interpreting symbols whose meaning has
become obscure, forgotten or misunderstood by establishing a neces-
sary connection between the essence of forms, sounds, simple ideas
(such as number) and their spiritual, moral or intellecnral equivdents.
You might as well obiect to interpreting ancient art by consideration of
beauty as determined by physiological facts.
(e) A system of omniform ideas so as to enable the mind to increase its
vocabulary ofthoughts and facts through organising and correlating
them. You might as well object to the mnemonic value of Arabic
modifications of roots.
(f) An instrument for proceeding from the known to the unknown on
similar principles to those of mathematics. You might as well object to
the use of f
, - l, xa etc.
(g) A system of criteria by which the tmth of correspondences may be
tested with a view to criticising new discoveries in the light of their
coherence with the whole body of truth. You might as well objqgt to
judging
character and status by educational and social convention.
The basis of the system is a diagram cdled the Tree of Life.
This is a multi-purpose map. It can be used to classify states of
consciousness, deities, colours, plants,
iewels,
the physicalbody
or anything else in the Universe. It is a unifying symbol which
embodies the entire cosmos.
It begins with Nothing, which is termed Ain. Ain is unknow-
able, unthinkable and unspeakable. To render itself compre-
hensible to itself, Ainbecomes Ain Soph (Infinity) andthen Ain
Soph Aour (Absolute Limitless Light), which concentrates
itself into a central dimensionless point. This point is called
Kether and it is the first Sephirah (sphere) of the Tree of Life.
The Light proceeds to manifest in nine more progressively
dense emanations down to the tenth and final Sephirah,
Malkuth, the physical world. This, then, is how the Universe
manifests, or how God or the Goddess Nuit manifests, or how
Darkness becomes Light and then Life - whichever words are
preferred
- and it is held that every set ofphenomena follows this
FIRST FRUITS 55
pattern. This is why the Tree of Life is viewed as a multi-
purpose map.
So our map so far consists often Sephiroth. These Sephiroth
are connected by twenty-two Itths which express the relations
between the Sephiroth they connect. The original creators of
the Kabbda attributed the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew
alphabet to these Paths and connected them with a symbol, the
Serpent of !7isdom, who includes all Paths within its coils as it
climbs from the lowest to the highest - which is why Regardie
originally took the magical name of The Serpent.
This system has been further expanded and made more
complex over the centuries. It is held by most Kabbalists that
there are Four Iforlds, or dimensions of existence, and each
World has its own Tree of Life. Many go further and work with
a system whereby each Sephirah contains a Tree, giving us a
totalofahundred Treesor, ifwe bringinthe Four Worlds, four
hundred. These complexities are beyond the scope of this work
but can certainly be studied with advantage in Thc Mystical
Qabalah
(1935) by Dion Fornrne or Regardie's A Garden of
Pomegranates.
It should be added, however, that there are two ways of
regarding Kabbala. The traditionalists believe that the Tree of
Life is the framework of the Universe. Crowley disagreed and
commented acidly:
It was as if some one had seriously maintained that a cat was a creature
constructed by placing the leaers C.A.T. in that order. It is no wonder
that Magick has excited the ridicule of the unintelligent, since even its
educated students can be guilty of so gross a violation of the first
principles of common sense (Magick: In Tluory ard Practice).
His point was that the Tree of Life is a clasificarion of the
Universe, not a thing in itself. Its unique advantage, or so
Crowley, Regardie and other Kabbalists insist, is that it is the
most useful tool of universal classification which the mind of
Man has ever invented.
During the 1890s, Mathers proceeded to write Tables of the
56 cRowLEY's AppRENTTcE
Tree of Life to classify his vast occult knowledge. Dr Vynn
Westcott very probably assisted him and these Tables were
circulated among Inner Order initiates, including Allan Ben-
nett. Bennett was an excellent Kabbalist in his own right and
Crowley learned from him, then acquired his own experience. A
most fruidul result was the publication in 1909 of Seam Seoen
Sanen, the classic dictionary of correspondences. As Crowley
wrote in his Preface:
The following is an attempr to systematise alike the data of
mysticism and the results of comparative religion.
for us it is left to sacrifice literary charm, and even some accuracy, in
order to bring out the one great point.
This: That when a
Japanese
thinks of Hachiman, and a Boer of the
Lord of Hosts, they are not rwo thoughts, but one.
The main Tables are based orr,iirar-,*onumbers: that is, the
ten Sephiroth and twenty-two Paths. If we look at the corres-
pondences pertaining to the number five, for example, we will
find that the planet is Mars, the Hebrew name is Geburah
(Suength), the colour for magical use is scarlet, the Element is
Fire, the Egyptian God is Horus, the Greek God Ares, the
Roman God Mars, the Hindu deities Vishnu and Vanuna-
Avatar, the stone is the Ruby, the plants are Oak, Nux Vomica
and Nettle, the animals (real and imaginary) are the Phoenix, the
Lion and the Child, the metal is Iron, the perfume is Tobacco
and so on. One uses Sezez Snen Sevm to set up magical
ceremonies, toguide one in meditationandto compare systems
of symbolism. Once its basicprinciples are comprehendid, one
can classify new knowledge, as Crowley continued to do
throughout his life. His work here, based as it was on that of the
Golden Dawn and Bennett, has yet to be surpassed and far too
many subsequent writers have plundered it without
acknowledgement.
By his own admission, Regardie was guilty of this act. Yet it
would not be
just to dismiss I Gardm of Pomegranates as mere
theft fromseu en Seaen Seaa!, even though it probably could not
have been written were it not for the latter. This would be to miss
the work's many merits. Snm Snen Sanm is not an easy book
for the novice and may on first reading leave him or her wholly
confounded . A Garilen of Pomegranates is an ideal introduction
to a difficult and complex subiect. Moreover, as Regardie wrote
inhis Introduction to the second edition:
The importance of the book to me was and is five-fold. ( 1) It prorided
a yardstick by which to measure my personal progress in
-the
understandingof the Kabbala. (2) Therefore it can have an equivalent
value to the modern student. (3) It serves as a theoretical introduction
to the Kabbalistic foundation of the magical work of the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn. (4) It throws considerable light on the
occasionally obscure writings ofAleister Crowley. (5) It is dg{igte{ to-
Crowley, who was the Ankh-af-na-Khonsu mentio:ted n Tlu Book of
tlu Law -
adedication which served both as a token of personal loyalty
and devotion to Cr<iwley, but was also a gesture of my spiritual
independence from him.
We must now briefly turn our attention to what is known as
The Literal Kabbala, the ways of 'combining Hebrew letters
and equating them with Number so as to perceive profound
tnrths-concerning the nature of God and His dedings with
Man'. There are three main methods: Gematria, Notariqon and
Temurah. Gematria is the art of discovering the secret sense of
a word by means of the numerical equivdents of each letter. As
Regardie states in A Gardert of Ponegranatesz
Its method of procedure depends on the fact that each Hebrew lener
had a definite numerical vaiue and may actually be used in place of a
number. ![hen the total of the numbers of the letters of any one word
were identical with that of another word, no matter how different its
meaning and translation, a close correspondence and analogy was seen.
He gives us aninteresting example. The Hebrew for'Serpent'
adds to 358 and so does the Hebrew for 'Messiah'.
This may
FIRST FRUITS 57
58 cRorwI.Ey,s AppRENTTcE
initially appear surprising but close inspection and a further
operation of Gematria will clarify the matter. For what is the
Serpent? As Regardie puts it: 'The Serpent is a symbol of the
Kundalini, the spiritualcreativeforce ineach man which, when
aroused by means of a trained will, re-creates the entire
individual, making him a God-Man.' And the Messiah is a God-
Man. Furthermore, if we add up the digits 3, 5 and 8, we obtain
16, and if we look up the correspondences of the l6th
path
in
Seuen Seoen Sevm ar A Gardcn of Pomegranaks, we find
Dionysius the Redeemer. Another correspondence is that of
Parsifal, who becomes able to perform the messianic miracle of
redemption. As Regardie states: 'We thus see the specific
analogy between the words "Serpent" and
.,Messiah"
which
the Kabbala has been able to reveal.'
Notariqon consists essentially of constructing a new word
from several words by taking the initial letters of the lattg:r and
combining them. In Temyryrh, the letters of a woid are
transposed according to variois systems to form a new word.
These practices concentrate the mind and are believed by their
exponents to reveal truths.
It should be stressed that Kabbala is usually found meaning-
less and even absurd by those with no practical experience oftfie
subiect. One cannot learn Kabbala simply by reading about it
any more than one can learn chemistry without ever entering a
laboratory and performing an experiment. Understanding
depends entirely upon and grows with honest work
- and any
student can be safely advised to study A Garden of
pomegranates
and imitate the example of Israel Regardie.
Even so, The Tree of Life: A Study in Magic is a far more
substantial piece of work. Even today, it is regarded as a superb
introduction to a way of wisdom which often strikes readeis as
b_eing diflicult and obscure, it is an ideal way of approaching
Crowley's more complex writings and, supported as it is by
copious quotations from uniustly neglected classical authors, il
remains a valuable book in its own right. As Francis King and
Isabel Sutherland state in The Rebinh of Magic
FIRST FRUITS
Crowley had always wanted to write books of magic which could be
read and understood by the ordinary reader. He never succeeded in
doing this, although he made several efforts to do so. He wrote with
great clarity and simplicity on yoga, but his purely magical writings are
largely incomprehensible to the reader not equipped with a detailed
knowledge of Mathers' qabalistic system the rites of the Golden
Dawn, and even the events of Crowley's own life.
The pupil succeeded where the master had failed. In 1932, Regardie
published two books, T he Tree of Life and T lu Gardm of Pomcgranates,
wtrictr many consider to be minor occult masterpieces. The former
work dedt with the techniques of ritual magic, the latter with the
qabalah; in spite of Regardie's close relationship with Crowley they
rlpresent the pure Golden Dawn system rather than'Crowleyanity'.
It would seemthat, young as he was, Regardiehadthe discrimination
to discern which particular elements of 'Magick' were drawn from,
respectively, the OTO, fro mthe Book of tlu Latt,andftom the Golden
Dawn. The Tree of Life gives,using alchemical symbolism, a detailed
account of the'Mass of the Holy Ghost' -
in other words, the sexual
magic of the OTO.
Vith its detailed and lucid exposition of the how and why of
Magic, The Tree of Life is an ideal book for the intelligent
beginner, and its insights make it vduable also for the advanced
student. Such criticisms as can legitimately be made are stylistic.
Firstly, there is no humour at all. One has the impression that
the author takes both his subiect and himself very seriously.
Indeed, the late Gerdd Yorke recalled with regret in later life his
opinion at the time of knowing Regardie that the man had no
sense of humour whatsoever. That may have been the case then;
or perhaps Regardie was simply very shy and inhibited; but
certainly in old age, Regardie was distinguished by a most
delighdul sense of humour. Even so and by his own later
admission, he never managed to impart it to his writings.
Secondly, and againby its author's later admissionrTheTree
of Life is mannered in its execution. Because Regardie was
painfully conscious of his lackof a formal university education,
he endeavoured to compensate for this by the adoption of a
weighty and occasionally ponderous prose style. Years would
59
60 cRosrI-Ey's AppRENTTcE
pass before he had sufficientconfidence to write simply, clearly
and cleanly: nevertheless, his early manner does ,rot ma, ttr.
excellence of his content nor does it interfere with judicious
appreciation.
The publication of his first two books had a number of
interestingconsequences.
The Tree of Life was acidly reviewed
in the Lond on S aturday Raiew wdirthe heading
.'ihe
Way of
Madness', by'A Student of Life' who was in fact tlie editor, a"Mr
H. Warner Allen. This review elicited a response from a
psychiatrist which was published in the issue of l0 December
1932.
_
Hav1lg-read with the greatest possible interest and approval llr
\ree
of ta;feay Israel Reggdie, f was surprised by the laik of insight
shown in his criticism by 'A Studenf of Lifi,. Largely Uy itre
experience of patients aqd of my own, and a little Uy ttreituay of tne
written works of others, I have gradually discovereda fittle abput life.
It was with amazement and the joy
of meeting a friend in a strange land
that I read Mr Regardie's bool< and found that the little"I had
discovered was a very small part ofthat very elaborate system which he
has enunciated in his book with so much slmpficity. My own method
has always been the scientific one, and I wasdeeply impressed that his
wasthe same, butwhere I wasonlyabeginnerhehas shown methe way
to
_further
progress in my search for understanding.
Your reviewer is confused and unfair, but Mr R-gudie is neither.
I write_hoping that the intelligent reader may not 6e put off by an
unintelligent review from reading a work of great significance-and
value. It is not one which can be readily appreciatea tf au uecause of
the inherent difficulty of its subject, but-there are many to whom it
would come as a ray of light on a dark road.
The writer was E. Graham Howe, MD, uncle of Ellic Howe
- the author of some curious works on the history of magical
orders which unite detailed, dogged and painstaking reseirch
with a puzzling hostility to Magic. Dr Graham HowJmade the
acquaintance of Regardie and it is possible that this stimulated
the latter's subsequent interest in and involvement with the
world ofpsychology. Certainly Regardie liked him and he seems
FIRST FRUITS
to have been a remarkable individual. I have heard another
extraordinary man, Gerard Noel, among other things the editor
of a first-class periodical called Pentagram, give unstinting
praise to the memory of Dr Howe of whom he declared:
'Everything I am today, I owe to him.'
Regardie also made the acquaintance of the celebrated
Magician, Dion Fornrne, whose books he greatly admired.
Unfortunately, he found her disappointing in person. 'Mind
you, most authors arer' he added ruefully when I first met him.
A fairly recent and interesting work, Dancers To The Godsby
Alan Richardson, has given credit for much of Dion Fortune's
achievements to her husband, Dr Penry-Evans, who was
apparently a tower of strength and a pillar of support. Regardie
did not concur with this opinion, dismissing the good doctor
with the words: 'Never seen a man so bloody hen-pecked.'
Even so, he enjoyed cordid relations with Dion Fortune, who
greeted his books with enthusiasm and argued that much occult
secrecy was rumecessary. This was hardly the view of a
representative of a Golden Dawn offshoot, the Alphaet Omega
Lodge. According to Francis King and Isabel Sutherland:
Captain E.
J.
Langford-Garstin wrote to him demanding that he
should never again mention the name of the Golden Dawn in print;
occult secrecy, he affirmed, was all-impoftant. Dion Fornrne took the
opposite point of view ... A representative of the Stella Matutina,
piesumably a schizophrenic, managed to hold both points of view at
ihe same time andwrote toboth Langford-Garstinand Dion Fortune
expressing full agreement with their respective positions. Unfornr-_
naielythe letters were inserted in the wrong envelopes (TheRebirth of
Magic).
The controversy provoked by Regardie's books led to meet-
ings with representatives of the Stella Matutina
-
another
Golden Dawn offshoot -
most notably a Mrs Hughes. lrrl934,
a new phase of his life commenced when he was admined to this
magical Order.
6t
6
The Golden Dawn and a
poison
Cloud
why did the Golden Dawn play so central a parr in the lives of
both Crowley and Regargie? To recapitulateiMagic is a way of
perfecting_the
various faculties of Man and rJsing him in
stages to Godhead. In the course of doing it, the l{agician
gains understanding of various subtle ptoceisei of Naturl and
comes into contact with beings who may or may not exist
r1fege.nderyly of the unconsiious mind. It is argued by
Magicians that everything in the universe is conneded with
everything else in an ordered paftern ofcorrespondences. The
paraphernalia employed_ilmagrcal rituals
- the circle, triangle,
wands,
9ups, _swords,
disks, robes, lamens etc.
- tt.rg-"r.
pea.ns of manipulating corrllpondences, enflaming the imag_
ination al{ focuging the will iirto a blazing st eam of puie
energy.- Although branches of Magic ded with practical,
material maners' the fundamental gbal is the attainment oi
superconsciousness, enabling the Magician to know and
aclgpnJish_hi9-rrulpurpose
in life. ThiJis the High Magic to
which the Golden Dawn Order was dedicated.
The origins of the Order are still a matrer for dispute. The
controversy can be studied in Ellic Howe,s The Magicians of
the Golden
P*ry0972)
in which it is skilfully argueJthat th!
order was founded on a fraud; and the pres.ttt *ritet's saster's
Ansuser to Howe (in Regardie's What lou Should Know About
tlu Golden Dau;n,1983) which raises questions Howe has failed
to consider and arrives at a verdict of not proven. Since the
appearance of the latter, there has been another edition of
Mr Howe's book, containing a new Introduction which takes
notice of suster's Answer. uxfortunately, instead of tackling
sensibly the questions raised by my essay, Mr Howe choosei
instead to abuse it without providing any iupporting evidence.
It is disappointing to note that personatanimosity
fias entered
THE GOLDEN DAWN AND A POISON CLOUD 63
into the contnoversy and prevents obiective consideration of
the questions at issue.
A third possibility in the origins controversy has been
suggested in private conversation by Eric Towers and others,
including the notedauthorityon Magicandthe Golden Dawn,
Francis King. This is that a Dr
\ffestcoa
did indeed forge
documents which purported to give the Golden Dawn a
'Rosicrucian' and C-ontinental origin but that 'MacGregor'
Mathers nevertheless subsequendy brought through genuine
Magic. This possibility should be seriously considered.
In the end, of course, the question of origins is of purely
academic interest. Either Golden Dawn Magic works or it
doesn't. There is no dispute that the Order was founded on the
basis of a set of cipher manuscripts. Absolutely nobody knows
or claims to know where these came from originally. Neither is
it disputed that they came into the possession of Dr W. I7ynn
Westcott, a London coroner, probably in 1887. Ifestcott asked
an occult scholar, S; L. 'MacGregor' Mathers to assist him.
The code was a relatively simple one, conrained in Polygra-
phiaeby
John
Trithemius and the manuscripts turned out to
contain skeletonic rituals of a loosely 'Rosicnrcian' nature and
the address of one Fraulein Sprengel in Nuremberg..Westcon
claimed that he wrote to her, receiving in retum a Charter to
found the Golden Dawn.
Howe and his followers have alleged that Sprengel never
existed and that Westcott forged the Charter and letters from
Germany, but the @ntroversy is not germane here. The facts
remain that Mathers expanded and wrote up the skeletonic
rituals and these were duly enacted in temples set up in
London, Edinburgh, Bradford, Weston-super-Mare, and
later, ltris.
In 1891, Westcott claimed that Sprengel had died and her
associates had broken off all communication, urging the
Golden Dawn leaders to form their own links with'the Secret
Chiefs', allegedly superhuman beings concerned with the
spiritual evolution of mankind. In Paris 1892 Mathers claimed
to have established these links. A second, inner and
64 cRorvI-Ey's AppRENTIcE
'Rosicrucian' Order was founded; The Red Rose and the Cross
of Gold, and page after page of theoretical and practical occult
teaching flowed from the clairvoyantly inspired pen of Math-
ers. Yet the resulting system was beautiful and possessed
bewildering yet logically coherent complexity. For Mathers
had welded together * xpalgam of traditions drawn from the
Magic of Egypt and Chaldea, the Hebrew Kabbala, the Tarot
and medieval and Renaissance esotericism together with his
own inspiration into a body of knowledge and a merhod for
taking practical advantage of that knowledge.
Unfornrnately, as time went on, the London members grew
weary of the autocratic manner of Mathers. Although many of
them were perfectly ordinary people whom Aleister Crowley
snobbishly dismissed as nonentities, there were some notable
initiates:
tW.
B. Yeats, the poet; Arthur Machen and Algernon
Blackwood, the writers; George C-ecil
Jones,
chemist, metal-
lurgist and accomplished Magician; Allan Benne6, later
Bhikku Ananda Meneya, wtp would in time bring Buddhism
to England;
J.
W. Brodie-Innes, novelistl Florence Farr,
actress and intimate of Bernard Shaw; Maud Gonne, whose
beauty and Irish revolutionary fervour inspired Yeats; and
Mrs Oscar Vilde. Mathers, who had for some time been living
in Paris with his wife Moina, sister of the philosopher Henri
Bergson, responded by becoming still more autocratic. Leners
were exchanged between London and Paris
-
the various issues
involved lie beyond the scope of this work
- and accusations
were hurled until, at the end of March 1900, the London
Temple declared its independence of its creator. As we have
noted, Aleister C,rowley promptly dashed offto Paris, pledged
his loyalty to Mathers and returned to London as the latter's
Envoy Plenipotentiary.
There was then a magical duel between Yeats and Crowley,
succinctly recorded by Francis King and Isabel Sutherland in
their delighdul history, The Rebirth of Magtc;
(Yeats) claimed that the Order wonder-workers had 'called up'one of
Crowley's mistresses on the astral plane and told her to betray her
THE GOLDEN DAWN AND A POISON CLOUD 65
lover. Two days later, said Yeats, she spontaneously approached a
member of the Order and offered to go to Scotland Yard and give
evidence of 'tornrre and medieval iniqurty'. Crowley's diary gave
quite a different account of this psychic attack - his omamental Rose
Cross turned white, while fires refused to burn in his lodgings; his
rubber mackintosh spontaneously went up in flames, for no apparent
reason he lost his temper, and on at least five occasions horses bolted
at the sight of him.
C.rowley replied by seizing the Order's premises with the aid of
some toughs he had hired at a pub in Leicester Square ... The
triumph was only a temporary one. ![ith the aid of the police, the
Second Order regained control of its premises and, for good measure,
managed to persuade one of Crowley's creditors to issue a writ
against him.
While all this was going on in London Mathers was resofting to
black magic in llaris. He had taken a large packet of dried peas,
baptised each pea with the name of one of his opponents, invoked the
devils Beelzebub and Typhon-Set and had then, simultaneously
shaking the peas in a large sieve, cdled upon these dark gods to
confound the rebels with quarrels and discord. This seems to have
been one ofthe most successful surses ever recorded, for having got
rid of Mathers the members of the Golden Dawn spent the next few
years quarrelling violently with one another.
The Order fragmented into factions. One was the Rosicru-
cian Order of the Alpha et Omega (AO), which consisted of
those who remained loyal to Mathers or after a period of
rebellion, returned to their original allegiance. The AO had a
Temple in Paris under Mathers, one in London under Dr
Berridge, a homeopath and disciple of Thomas Lake Harris,
and some American Temples chartered by Mathers prior to
1900. In l9ll
J.
W. Brodie-Innes, who had taken a leading
part in the original revolt, resumed contact with Mathers,
received 'new and exceedingly powerful formulae' from him
and revived the dormant Edinburgh Temple, Amen-Ra, under
the authority of the Alpha et Omega.
In November 1918 Mathers died in the world-wide epi-
demic of Spanish influenza and was succeeded by his wife
66 cRowt.Ey,s AppRENTTcE
Moina, who chartered some more American temples before
her own death in the 1920's. Brodie-Innes also died it that time
but the AO continued. Its moving spirit was Captain E.
J.
Langford-Garstin, the man who rebuked Regardie for reveal-
ing magical 'secrets' in his books, but Garstin met with
financial disaster and committed suicide and it appears that,
soon after, the AO became dormant.
A second faction was rhe 'Holy' Order of the Golden Dawn
led by A. E. Waite, who rewrote the rituals,lengthened them
intolerably, Christianized them and removed the magical
elements. Eventually Waite left his own fraternity becauJe of
what he called'internecine feuds over documents'and it died
a richly deserved death.
A third was led by Crowley, who announced in Tlu Equinox
that his A ... A ... included the Golden Dawn
- the GD, he
claimed, was the Outer C,ollege for the Grades Neophyte to
Philosophus
-
and published inaccurare versions of iis,initia-
tory rituals and accurate rendtions of its teachings in addition
to his own superb innovations. However, although Crowley,s
synthesis was heavily in{luenced by the Golden Dawn system,
one cannot say that he was running a Golden Dawn Order.
The fourth faction isthe most important one for our present
purposes. This was the Stella Marutina led by Dr R. W.
Felkin, a former Christian missionary in Uganda and an expert
in tropical medicine. In l9l2 Dr and Mrs Felkin charterid a
new Temple in New Zealand, to which they emigrated four
years later. This Temple still flourishes today under Mr
pat
Zalaski. And shortly before their final departure from Eng-
land, the Felkins chartered three new temples in this country:
one was intended for Freemasons and little is known of its
activities or lack of them; one was for A. E. Waite, the Master
devoid of a Temple, and next to nothing was accomplished;
and the third was situated in Bristol 'and was led by occultists
experienced in the Golden Dawn magical tradition'.r
Felkin's own London Temple, Amoun, had as its moving
spirits Dr \V. Hammond, a chief of the Stella Marutini
Masonic Temple; the Reverend F. N. Heazall, an Anglican
THE GOLDEN DAW'N AND A POISON CLOUD
clergyman; and Miss C. M. Stoddart. These three chiefs
neglected disciplined magical work in favour of sloppy
spiritualist-style mediumship and the Temple collapsed. Sub-
sequently Miss Stoddart became obsessed with the idea of a
sinister world-wide conspiracy of Freemasons,
Jews
and
Golden Dawn members and her book, Light-Bearers of
Darkncss under the pseudonym 'Inquire Within' can still
delight lovers of intellectual fatuity.
The Masonic Temple, which was also strongly influenced
by the ideas of Rudolf Steiner, eventually expired; so the sole
GD Temple which could be described as'flourishing'during
the 1930's was The Stella Matutina Hermes Temple in Bristol,
which Regardie
ioined.
One of its more notable initiates was
Professor C. D. Broad, the Cambridge philosopher and author
of The Mind And lts Place In Nature; and in due course the
Order would be
joined
by Dr E. Graham Howe.
Obviously Regardie was excited by the prospect of becom-
rng part of so distinguished a Magical Order, the teachings of
which had had so profound an effect upon Crowley. For the
Golden Dawn system can be regarded as the supreme
harmonious synthesis of classical techniques. Its object is to
bring the individual to a blazing consciousness of the white
light of the divine spirit within. The process of doing this is
called Initiation.
Those who practise the Golden Dawn system believe that
honourably intentioned and technically sound magical work
accomplished by an Ordergives its officers the powerto arouse
this 'white light of the divine spirit' in others through beautiful
but complex magical ceremonies. This is achieved in stages
and by degrees. Unlike the A ... A ...
\trflay,
there are no such
Grades as Student or Probationer. The aspirant commences
the quest by undergoing the Neophyte Ritud. This is of
fundamental importance, for by it the magical potential of the
individual is activated. As Crowley statesinMagick: In Theory
and Practice:
This formula has for its 'first mat{er' the ordinary man entirely
67
68 cRowr.ry's AppRENTTcE
ignorant of everything and incapable of anything. He is therefore
represented as blindfolded and bound. His only aid is his aspiration,
represented by the oflicer who is to lead him into the Temple. Before
entering, he must be purified and consecrated. Once within the
Temple, he is required to bind himself by an oath. His aspiration is
now formulated as lfill. He makes the mystic circumambulation of
the Temple. After further purification and consecration, he is
allowed for one moment to see the Lord of the $0est, and gains
courage to persist. For the third time he is purified and consecrated,
and he sees the Lord of the East, who holds the balance, keepinghim
in a straight line. In the Ifest he gains energy. In the East he is
prevented from dissipating the same. So fortified, he may be received
into the order as a neophyte by the three principal officers, thus
uniting the Cross with the Triangle. He may then be placed between
the pillars of the Temple, to receive the fourth and final consecrarion.
In this position the secrets of the grade are communicated to him,
and the last of his feners is removed. All this is sealed by the
sacrament of the Four Elements.
It will be seen that the effect of this whole ceremony is to-endaas a
thing ircrt and impotmt with bafunced nntion in a gioen direction.
The newly induaed Neophyre then studies the language
and grammar of Magick and undertakes elementary practices
such as meditation. The next stage is the successive taking of
the Four Elemental Grades. The Four Elements of the
Ancients
-
Fire, Water, Air and Earth
- are held to correspond
with, among other things, states of human consciousness
which need to be aroused and activated. Earth, Air,\Vater and
Fire correspond with Malkuth, Yesod, Hod and Netzach, the
four lowest Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. Hence, in the next
Grade of Zelator the candidate steps into Malkuth and the
initiatory ritual is designed to acrivate his energies of Earth.
\[hat on earth is meant by this phrase:
'the energies of Earth'?
Simply, those fundamenral characteristics in the human
psyche to which we refer when we make a statement like: 'John
and
Jane
are very down to earth.' One effect of the Z*lator
initiation should be the increase of common sense and animal
strength on the part of the aspirant.
THE GOLDEN DAWN AND A POISON CLOUD 69
Further study and further practice follow before the
Theoricus initiation, the Practicus intiation, and the Philoso-
phus initiation, which work on bringing out further elemental
energies of humankind: imagination, intellect and emotion.
This is in order to maximize all aspects of human potential
which are usually repressed by the conscious ego or suppressed
by external society, and to balance them in perfect harmony. It
is intended that the Magician will think with his brain, feel
with his heart,lust with his guts and stand with his feet firmly
on the ground: far too many in ordinary life muddle the matter
and, for instance, lust with their brains, endeavour to stand
firmly on the swirling tides of emotion, think with their guts
and allow feelings to dictate where they put their feet. This
wastes energy and prevents healthy psychological integration,
leading to endless self-destructive, internal conflicts.
It is held by Golden Dawn initiates that if the work
appropriate to each Grade has been seriously undertaken and
the initiatory cerenlonies properly performed, then the ener-
gized aspirant is ready for the next important stage, the Portal
Grade, but only after seven months of meditating on what has
gone before and absorbing its effects. This is no easy business.
As Crowley writes:
the Aspirant, on the Threshold of Initiation, finds himself assailed by
the complexes which have comrpted him, their externalisation
excruciating him, and his agonised reluctance to their elimination
plunging him into such ordeals that he seems (both to himself and to
others) to have turned from a noble and upright man into an
unutterable scoundrel (Magick: In Tluory and Practice).
And as Regardie states:
The significance of all this is to point to a higher type of
consciousness, the beginning of a spiritual rebirth. It acts as a self-
evolved link between the higher Selfat peace in its eternal place, and
the human soul, bound by its fall to the world of illusion, fear and
anxiety. But until that self-awareness and acquired knowledge are
turned to higher and initiated goals, sorrow and anxiety are the
70 cRowI-ry's AppRENTTcE
inevitable results. In other words, it will not do for the Adept to be
crrt offfrom his roots. He must unite all the component paris of his
mind-body system and integrate every element on the Tree, his own
organism. He must develop by use, the titanic forces of his
unconscious psyche so that they may become as a powerful but docile
beast whereon h9 may ride. The personality musi be reorganized on
an gntirely new basis. Every element therein demands equilibration
so that illumination ensuing from magical work may nbt give rise to
fanaticism and pathology instead of Adeptship and integri[r. nahnce
is required for the accomplishment of the Great Work.:Equilibrium
is the basis of the soul.' (The Eye in tlrc Triangle).
After the Portal Grade, in which the four activated Elements
are balanced and crowned with the Element of Spirit, nine
qronths must pass before the aspirant can approactt-the Inner
Order for the beautiful and important intiation into the
sephirah of Tiphareth and the Grade of Adeptus Minor. Here
there is a symbolic death and resurrection, and the candidate is
reborn as an Adept who has beheld the Godhead. The next
task is the mastery of magical technology, some of which
includes the arousal and conuol of magical power or,light'or
'the energy of the Spirit' within thd self so ls to transGr it to
other aspirants during their ceremonies of initiation.
The attentive reader may have noticed that there are other
ways of regarding this initiatory process. For example, one
could accept the hypothesis that the human psyche consists of
'a ladder of selves'
- as Colin Wilson and othershave suggested
- and that each step on this ladder makes one conscious of a
deeper self within unril one comes to the Self that is the
highest. Some would call this'God within us'- Hindus call it
atmanrwhich is the same
- and Crowley came to call it the True
will.
Another schema involves postulating that magical and
mystical progress consists of becoming conscious ofand then
stripping away the various thick veils of falsehood which
sunound and smother that Spirit or Will which we are.
Under the Golden Dawn system, the Adeprus Minor has to
THE GOLDEN DAWN AND A POISON CLOUD 7l
tackle a vast body of work: this could easily take a lifetime.
Assuming this is accomplished, he is raised merely to a sub-
Grade of Adeptus Minor; and yet more work has to be done.
Here is the programme:
Part Oru. A. Prelirninary. Receive and copy: Notes on the
Obligation. The Ritual of the 5 = 6 Grade (Adeptus Minor). The
manuscript. Sigils from the Rose. The Minutum Mundum. Having
made your copies of these and returned the originals you should
study them in order to prepare to sit for the written examination. You
must also arrange with the Adept in whose charge you are, about
your examination in the Temple on the practical work.
Part Two. Receive the Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram.
C-opy and leam them. You can now sit for the written examination in
these subjects and complete 'A' by arranging to be tested in your
practical knowledge in the Temple.
Part One. B. Implements. Receive the Rituals of the Lotus Wand,
Rose-Cross, Sword, and the Elemental Weapons. Copy and return
them. There is a written examination on the above subiects - that is
on the construction, symbolism, and use of these objects, and the
general nature of a consecration ceremony and the forming of
invocations. This can be taken before the praaical work of making is
begutt or at any stage during it.
Part Two. This consists in the making of the Implements which
must be passed as suitable before the consecration is arranged for, in
the presence of a Ctrief or other qualified Adept. The making and
consecration are done in the order given above unless it is preferred
to do all the practical work first, and make arrangements for
consecration as convenient.
Part Onc. G. Neophyte Formulac. Receive and copy 2.1. on the
symbols and formulae of the Neophyte Ritud. z.3.the symbolism of
Neophyte in this Ceremony. C-opy the God-form designs of the
Neophyte Ritud. The written examination on the Z. manuscripts
may now be taken.
Part Two. To describe to the Chief or other suitable Adept in the
Temple the arrangement of the Astral Temple and the relative
positions of the Forms in it. To build up any God-form required,
using the comect Coptic Name.
72
cRowr,Ey,s AppRENTTcE
Thus the work of the first sub-Grade, that of 7-elator
Adeptus Minor. The work of the Theoricus aa.prus rvri"o,
follows:
-
Part one' c. Psychic. This consists in a written examination in
the Tatwa system. Its method of use, and an account or""y o". uiri*
you have had from any card.
Part Two. This consists-in
l1king
a set of Tatwa cards, if you
have not already dole so,. a1d sending tlem to be passed bti* Ciri.i
or other.Adept appointed. To take the examiner on
"
fat*i.
io"*.y,
instruct_ing him as if he were a srudent and vibrating ,h;;;"p.;
names for a selected symbol.
Part Onc. D. Diaination Receive and study the Tarot system,
mal<ing notes of the principal anributions of thi Inner
-etnoa.
- --'
Part Twa Practical.- On a selected question, either your orrr, o,
the examiner's, to work out a Divination first byGeo-..r"y, ih.ob;
Ho1ry Astrology, then by the complete Innir Tarot
#.-,
;e
send in a correlated account of the result
_Polr.Of !:
AnSel!.f"blq. Receive and make copies of the
Enochian Tables, the Ritud of the c-oncourse of the Forces, and the
Ritual of the making of the
pyramids,
Sphinx, ana Coa_for; f.;;t
square. A written examination on these subfects may now be taken.
Part Two. Make and coJo3r a pyramid for a sete&ea ,q""ri, *j
to make the God-form and sphinx'suitable to it, and to'tau" tti,
passed by an Adept. To prepare a Ritual for practicar
"se
witn it is
:qyg9,
and in the presence of a Chief or other Adept appointed to
build_it ug
3straJlf
and describe the vision produced. T;:tilt;;
pray Enochian chess, and to make one of the chess boards and a ,.t
of Chessmen.
Part One. E. Talismans. Receive a manuscript onthe making and
consecratir-rg of Talismans. Gather Names, Sigils, etc., flr a
ralismal for.a special
pypgse. Make a design-for 6otir a.tii", lrii
and send it in for a chief to pass. Make up a special ;-tuat ror
consecreating-tg th9 purpose you have in mind arrd a"rarrge a timi
with the Chief for the C-eremony of Consecration.
This completes the work of a Theoricus Adeptus Minor.
The sub-Grades of Practicus Adeptus Minor and
philoso-
phus Adeptus Minor which follow, are still trrot. a.**airr!.
THE GOLDEN DA\TN AND A POISON CLOUD
It is therefore hardly surprising to note Regardie's view that
anyone who openly claims any Grade above Adeptus Minor,
'by that very act raises a gigantic question mark against the
validity of the attainment'.
Taking the magical Name of Ad Majorem Adonai Gloriam,
Israel Regardie made very rapid progress through the lower
Grades of the Order. He had been intimately familiar with the
material there for a number of years. He swiftly attained the
Grade of Zelator Adeptus Minor
- and yet it was in a state of
biner disillusionment with the Order. He condemned its
Chiefs for perverting a noble system. He was disappointed in
and disgusted by their approach to the rituals.
As a result the ceremony which was conducted on behalf of the
whole fraternity was dead. The Temple never became enlivened with
the flashing force that should have manifested itself. No power was
generated in atty way. The ceremony became a meaningless
perfunctory piece of formalism, the Chief Adept simply mumbling
his speeches as though anxious to be through with it, and nothing
mrorc (lVhat You SInuId Knotr about tlu Golden Daant).
Worse, the Chiefs were obsessed both with Grades and with
their own importance. One claimed to bean Adeptus Exemp-
nrs while another had the audacity to claim that of Magus.
It is to such ridiculous heigtrts of vanity and fantasy that the
members were sometimes accustomed to look for advice and
guidance ... Yet, ironically enough, frequent conversations and
repeated enquiries for information conceming fundamental issues of
the mere Adeptus Minor work, elementary stuff one would have
thought, elicited not the least satisfaction . .. The root of the uouble,
quite apart from the grade misconceptions as well as the crrrse of
vanity, was of course that the work was only cursorily performed. No
one really cared a fig for Magic and spiritual development. No one
really strived for mastery of any technique. Grades, and grades alone,
were the goal (Ibid.).
The present-day Chiefs have been so ashamed secretly of their lack
73
74 cRorwI-ny's AppRENTTcE
of.ability, and their absence of magical initiative and pioneering
spirit, as well as of rhe puerility of their intellectual outlook ii
connection with the traditional technique, that they engineered
unconsciously a revenge upon the order. As compensation for their
own futility, for their own psychic and spiritual-deficiencies, they
have foisted upon the whole Order the paucity of their own
attainment. They have projected their inferiority upon their subordi-
nates by refusing to acknowledge any intelligence either past or
present keener than their own. In the presence of practical work
suggesting initiative or the experimental spirit they have responded
solely with cheap sneers and cynicisms. Under thehypocritiial and,
in my estimation, dogmatic guise of scepticism whichLwas cultivated
osrensibly to protec students from the dangers ofdogma, they have
with-held every scrap of useful material having an experimental
origin and which might be serviceable as establishing- valid and
primary principles of Magical practice (Ibid.).
This placed Regardie in an agonizing dilemma. He.believed
absolutely in the nobility and efficaciousness of the Golden
Dawn system, he thought that it had the potential to regenerate
the consciousness of thousands of indivuduals, and yet it was
now choking to death in the grubby hands of vain and witless
Inepti.The only wayto save it was surelyto make the teachings
available to all seekers after wisdom; but this would involve
breaking the oath of secrecy which Regardie had sworn. After
m1r:! excruciating thought, he signed away any financial gains
which might accrue to him and resolved topublish the Golden
Pryr
system,.$i"S openly upon himsetf fuU responsibility
for the breach of his oath. In February 1935 he completed hii
prefltgry book, My Rosiuucian Adaenture, subiequently
republished aslVhat You ShouldKnow about the GotdciOaai:
A torrent of malicious slander was let loose after the publication of
my Tree of Life,andquite wrongfully I was calumniated, vilified and
slandered. And for no adequate reason that I can see. No obligations
were broken, and certainly no smirch was reflected upon the divine
J!.rrgy
which to me was, and still is, the only thing worthwhile in
life and living. Even more calumny may be released by the issue of
THE GOLDEN DA\VN AND A POISON CLOUD 75
this preliminary publication, like black qliphotic ravens with vilifica-
tion beneath their wings. But that is not my concem ... If I have
wronged the Order, its guardians will know how and where and in
what way I may be punished. If I am guilty of treachery and have
mistakenly worked against the intent and purpose of the true occult
forces behind the Golden Dawn, those intelligent powers concerned
with the initiation of mankind, then willingly I open myself to the
avenging punitive current. On the other hand, there is linle doubt
but that I may expect every assistance in this my venture of
publication should those guardians also feel that the Order has
finished its day. Herein and deliberately, by this very act, do I, Ad
Majorem Adonai Gloriam, 7*lator Adeptus Minor R.R. et A.C.,
invoke that same guardian of the Mysteries before whom I sincerely
swore, when bound on the Cross of Obligation, that I would devote
myself to the Great Work, and that dways and at all times shall I have
the best interests of that work at heart. And if I fail herein, and if my
present act be contrary to the true intent of whatever divine powers
may be, willingly let my'Rose be blasted and my power in Magic
ease.'
Between 1938 and 1940 the Aries Press of Chicago pub-
lished four volumes of Golden Dawn material edited by
Regardie.
'For many years, in spite
- or perhaps because
-
of its
excellence, this compilation sold very slowlyr' write Francis
King and Isabel Sutherland in The Rebirth of Magic. 'Almost
twenty years after its first publication it was still in print and
was available from London's leading occult bookseller.'
Regardie was indeed vilified as a result; and some of his
enemies even resorted to magical attack, a notion which always
aroused his scorn. 'I received so many curses, I could've
papered my walls with themr'he told mel'That was about all
they were fit for.' Gradually, though, there was a growth of
appreciation, as R. A. Gilben has stated:
By the time the fourth volume had appeared in 19,10 many
members of the Stella Matutina had become reconciled to the work
- ifonly for the practical reason that the existence ofa printed ritual
76 cRovr-Ey's AppRENTTcE
removed the need for manual copylng. A further result of his action
was the birth of 'The Brothers of the hth,' a movement founded in
Yorkshire by Anthony Greville-Gascoigne; it was inspired by
Regardie's works, devoted to the promotion of his type of occultism,
and it published a
journal
calle d, Tlu Golden Daun,to wlich Regardie
contributed a
justification
of his work. But the journal,
the
Brotherhood and its ideals all vanished in the Second World War
(The Goldm Daan: Twilight of tlu Magicians).
The Hermes Temple of the Stella Matutina staggered on, on
occasion enjoying periods when good magical *ori *as done,
but died with its last chief n 1972. That meant that with the
exception of the 'Smaragdum Thalasses' Temple, the New
Zealnd fraternity founded by Dr Felkin, there was no longer
any legitimate descendant of the Golden Dawn.2 \[hat there
was, however, was a system which anyone could buy in book
form and which could be put into practice by individuals and
grgups. Moreover, there was therein a mine of ftagical
information from which othdr Orders could draw. SincJthe
late 1950s, many books on Magic have been published which
on examination turn out to be little more than pieces of
extrapolation from Regardie's Tlu Golden Dazm, accompanied
by their authors' largely uninteresting comments. The most
important result of Regardie's action has been ably summar-
ized by Francis King and Isabel Sutherland:
In the early 1950's there was a mild revival of interest in ritual magic,
presumably sparked off by the publication of
John
Symonds'
biography and C. R. Cammell's memoir of Aleister Crowiey. The
price of second-hand copies ofthe latter's books began to riie and
individual occultists began to experiment with the techniques taught
in those books. Some of these latter found the traditional l7estern
magic embedded in Crowley's system to be of more interest to them
than either OTO sex magic or the new religion of Thelema and
diverted their attention to the Golden Dawn. They studied Regard-
ie's writings and more popular occulr manuals which taught
simplified Golden Dawn techniques, such as rhose written by the late
17. E. Butler, a one-time pupil of Dion Fornrne.
THE GOLDEN DAWN AND A POISON CLOUD 77
Eventually these individual practitioners of ceremonial magic
began to come together and form new occult brotherhoods in both
Britain and the USA. Sometimes such fraternities have claimed to be
'derived from the Golden Dawn'or'older than the Golden Dawn',
but not one ofthem has produced evidence to satisfactorily confirm
these claims. It is probable, therefore, that they are all based on
literary sources -
primarily the writings of Israel Regardie. This does
not mean, of course, that what is taught by these organisations is
valueless, nor that they do not number amongst their members
occultists who have travelled far along the road of magical attainment
(Tlw Rebirth of Magic).
In due course we shall be looking at Regardie's postwar
inlluence on magical organizations and at his further conuibu-
tions to the Golden Dawn system. For the present, however, it
is best to returnto The Rebirth of Magicand the truthful verdict
rendered by King and Sutherland:
That the rebirth of occult magic has taken place in the way it has
can be very largely auributed to the writings of one man, Dr Francis
Israel Regardie.
Notes
I
Francis King and Isabel Sutherland, The Rebirth of Magic (1982). I am
gready indebted to this work for my summary of Golden Dawn history aod
recommend it without any hesitation. King's Ritual Magic in England:
1887 to tlu Presmt Day also blends agreeable wit with ripe scholarship.
It can be fascinating to compare and contrast the various accounts of
Golden Dawn history and the anirudes behind them. Ellic Howe's T&e
Magicians of the Goldm Dann: A Docummtary History of a Magical Ordcr
(1972) is valuable for the meticulous and painstaking research ofits author
Regardie's lVhat You Should Knozts about tlv Golden Dantn (1983)' which
contains my Szster's Answer to Hwe, is dso essential reading here. The
Unicorn (year) by Virginia Moore gives an account of the Order from the
point of view of
lV.
B. Yeats. Tlu GoldmDwn: Tatilight of tlu Magicians
(1985) by R. A. Gilbert is skilfully researched and though there is litde new
material of interest, the account seryes as a useful supplement to the work
of Ellic Howe.
78 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
lnCrouslqt'sApprentice,itwas not necessary, in my view, to do anything
more than sketch the broad rough outline of Golden Dawn historyl
Serious students of the issues involved will find all the details oo. *rrid
desire in the works of Ellic Howe and R. A. Gilben, though they wilt be
puzded by the ignorance of practical magic and hostility to their-subject-
matter whichthese authors display beneath aguise of scholarly objectivity.
Perhaps the matter is summed up in Mr Gilbeft's curious rubtitte to his
Tlu Golden Dqn - Twilight of rlu Magicians. Twilight, of course, is not at
dawn but at dusk. One wonders what Regardie would say as he brought his
qsychoanalpical acumen to bear upon this elementary error - for doHen
- P"*1
Temples, as Mr Gilbert knows, are still flouriihing.
2
For those interested in the matter, there is a tangled, complex and obscure
mass of questions concerning American Golden Dawn lineage. Mathers
cfartere{ some Temples in the United States prior to 1900 arid may have
ghartered more later; we don't know what Lappened to them. irloina
Mathers is alleged to have sold charters to Americans after lglg; if so, what
became of them? Felkin, Brodie-Innes or (unfornrnately)
Waite may, for
all we know, have given, granted or sold charters to Americans.
-
The present writer is not aware of any American GD Temple which
claims direct descent from an English GD Temple. Such finlage as is
claimed derives from the New Zealand Temple founded by Dfand Mrs
Felkin. Of particular interest hele is the Georgia Temple. One hean that
gmd GD work is done there and one would like to know where it came
from.
But in fact, isn't the issue of chafters an extremely boring one? S[ho
really cares? If a group is doing good magical work,.it doesn,t need a
charter. If it isn't doing good magical work, then even a charter won't save
it.
7
On the Couch
Rcgardie's involvement in Magic was meanwhile given a new
and deeper perspective by his growing intellectual passion for
'p'sychology.
In addition to his voracious reading and ensuing
reflection, he studied psychoanalysis with Dr E. Clegg and
Dr
J.
L. Bendit, received raining in the
Jungian
sysrem,
,underwent Freudian analysis and became a lay analyst. Here
;we
can detect a number of considerations which impelled his
,,investigations.
One was a simple, ravenous hunger after knowledge and
lwisdom. A second was his adherence to the ancient Greek
.naxim:
'Know Thyself; the purpose of psychoanalysis. A
,;third was his search for methods *ttictr *utit transfoim the
I
cramped and inhibited psyche so as to produce a liberated and
'.:fully integrated individual, one who lived the ma:<im: 'Be
' Thyself. He had thought that this was to be found in Magic
but so numy of his fellow-initiates in the Stella Matutina had
horrified him. Despite all their grandiose claims, they were
wholly lacking in elementary self-knowledge: Magic had done
little for them other than inflate and exacerbat egos already
sufficiently swollen. Moreover, despite his own magicd
oftainments, remarkable in a man not yet twenty-eight, he
remained acutely aware of his own shortcomings and driven by
the desire to dissolve the complexes which still blocked the full
and healthy expression of the energies within him. Finally, he
was plagued by asthma, the occupational disease of occultists,
and this drove him to seek relief via psychoanalysis.
What r psychoanalysis? The life of its founder, Sigmund
Freud (1856-1939), is too well known to bear repetition here;
yet even today one encounters extraordinary misconceptions
as to the nature of Freud's teachings and even regarding the
use of elementary terms. One hopes that one will be forgiven
80 cRorrr.Ey's AppRENTTcE
for beginning with basics and stating that psycholog1,, is the
science of the mind and of human behaviour; that psyihiatry is
the form of medicine which endeavours to cure diseases of the
mind and problems of behaviour; and that psychoanalysis
is a
method of self-comprehension from which even the sanest
human beings can benefit. The goal of psychologt is to acquire
understanding of behaviour and mental processes. The goal of
psychiatry is allegedly to relieve mental and emotional distress
and certainly to ensure that patients can cope with life and
behave 'normally'; i.e. in a socially acceptable manner. The
goalof psychoanalysis is to enable the patient to understand his
or her own deepest motivations and thus function more
effectively and with greater satisfaction in life.
As a result of his clinical work with patients during the latter
years of the nineteenth cennrry, Dr Sigmund Freud, a
psychiatrist of Vienna, came to a conclusion that was then
considered to be revolutionary: that our conscious mind is only
a small part of our make-up and motivations, and that what
really drive us are factors of which we are not usually aware,
which reside in what he termed'the unconscious'. To use the
familiaranalogy ofan iceberg, the conscious mind is merelythe
visible tip. Fundamentally, Freud argued, we are driven by
instincts identical with those of the animals and by far the mosl
vitd is sex. Freud termed this the libido.
Freud's contributions to human thought may be grouped
under three headings
- an instrument of research, the findings
produced by the instrument and the theoretical hypotheses
inferred from the findings. Although Freud oiiginatty
employed hypnosis as his tool of research into the unconscious,
he soon developed a new technique, that of 'free association'.
In the words of
James
Strachey:
He adopted the unheard-of plan of simply asking the person whose
mind he was investigating to say whatever came into hls head. This
crucial decision led at once to the most startling results; even in this
primitive form Freud's instrument produced fresh insighr. For,
though things went along swimmingly for a while, sooner or later the
ONTHE COUCH
flow of associations dried up: the subject would not or could not think
of anything more to say. There thus came to light the fact of
tresistance',
of a force, separate from the subject's conscious will,
which was refusing to collaborate with the investigation. Here was
one basis for a very fundamental piece of theory, for a hypothesis of
the mind as something dynamic, as consisting in a number of mental
forces, some conscious and some unconscious, operating now in
harmony, now in opposition with one another.r
Secondly, Freud's own self-analysis led him to explore the
nanrre of dreams. These he regarded as the expression of
unconscious
-
and hence repressed
-
fears and yearnings. It is
rather as though dreams are films made by a libertarian creator
in a severely authoritarian society: he is not allowed to show his
views plainly so he works in symbols. One of the tasks of the
psychoanalyst is to interpret those symbols. Freud therefore
evolved techniquespf dream-analysis in order to penetrate the
resistances of neurotic patients.
The popular press has made most people familiar with
notions such as dreams of serpents being about the penis and
hence displaying one's reaction to male sexuality. Unsurpris-
ingly, given the nature of his time, this rather obvious equation
was greeted with hysteria, hatred, ridicule and contempt when
Freud first advanced it. Most people are familiar too with
'Freudian slips' - mistakes of speech which reveal an uncons-
cious mental process
-
and platitudes such as: 'A man leaves his
umbrella at a house to which he subconsciously wishes to
return.' However, they may be relieved to learn that the
founder of psychoanalysis possessed a sense of humour. At an
international dinner of the world's leading psychoandysts,
Freud astounded and appalled the company by placing a huge
cigar in his mouth and proceeding to smoke it with obvious
relish. There were murmurs of consternation. 'This may be a
phallus, gentlemenr' Freud admitted cheerfully, 'but let us not
forget that it is also a cigar.'
Freud proceeded to develop hypotheses based upon the data
elicited by his methods. Perhaps the best expression of his
8l
82 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
manrre thoughts is The Ego and the Id (1923). Here Freud
termed our uncoordinated instinctual desires theid.In society,
these desires undergo a process of repression from the moment
we are born. We are conditioned and suppressed by our
parents, our schooling, our peers and the manners and customs
of the society around us. This creates something within us
which is often termed the conscience birt which Freud termed
the superego, the moralizing faculty. In most people, the
superego and the id are continually in conIlict. Moreover, we
are creatures of conscious mentation and Freud termed this
faculty the ego, which endeavours to mediate between super-
ego and id. Freudian psychoandysis aims to bring about
insights into the experiences -
usually stemming from child-
hood and long repressed and forgotten -
which formed the id
and the superego and into the customary processes of the ego.
It is maintained that the resulting self-knowledge will liberate
trapped energy and enable the patient to lead a much more
fulfilling life.
!''
Certain other concepts play a vital part in Freud's thought.
He was the first to accept the facts of infantile sexuality; and
there is the notion of the Oedipus complex. A complex can be
defined as trapped energy; andlor as a problem which is not
recognized or admitted by the conscious mind yet which
nevertheless dictates thought, feeling and behaviour. Freudi-
ans argue that most men suffer from the Oedipus complex,
which is the subconscious desire to imitate the example of
Oedipus in Greek mythology: and kill one's father and fuck
one's mother. These thoughts are so shocking, so forbidden,
that they cannot be allowed to enter one's head. Consequently
people do stupid thrngs and feel terrible without knowing why,
because they refuse to recognize their father-hatred and
mother-lust. In common with Freud, Regardie came upon this
phenomenon time and time again in his subsequent clinical
experience; one result was his favourite
ioke:
Two
Jewish
women are walking along the street together and one
ON THE COUCH
says to the other: 'I have terrible news. My son - he's
iust
been to the
psychiatrist and the psychiatrist says he has an Oedipus complex.'
'Ach, Oedipus schmoedipus!' says the other. 'As long as he's a
good
Jewish
boy and loves his mother.'
Freudian analysis, as most of its practitioners admit, is an
inappropriate approach to the ctne of psychosr
-
a disorder of
the whole psyche usually classified as manic-depressive or as
rschizophrenia',
a mysterious term which has yet to be clearly
defined. However, the proponents of psychoanalysis argue
that it can cure rrcurosis
-
an ailment of a psyche which is
otherwise functioning more or less adequately. It purports to
do this by bringing the patient to awareness of fears and desires
which have hitherto not been allowed to surface into con-
sciousness, tuming the light of reason upon them and
encouraging a hedthy acceptance which drains away the
psychic poison accumulated over the years, and liberates all the
trapped energy. The process is not unlike a surgical operation
whereby the surgeon uses his scalpel to cut through to the
diseased organ, slices away the poisonous tissue and disinfects
the wound, leaving the organ free to perform its proper
function.
A classic neurosis, into which Regardie developed insights,
is that of casuation anxiety. This stems from the Oedipus
complex. The man cannot and will not admit his subconscious
desire to enjoy sexual congress with his mother. It is so
dreadful a deed - as Freud aptly remarkedinTotem andTabbo:
'in the beginning was the deed'- arousing so much shame and
guilt that the penalty must be equally atrocious. For this crime
the man must lose his manhood and suffer castration. The
resulting anxiety manifests in a variety of unrewarding
behaviour patterns: impotence; inability to achieve sexual
-satisfaction;
emotional and sexual division of women into
'pure'types like his fancy picture of his mother and with whom
he cannot enioy sexual relations
-
and 'whores' who are 'dirty'
and'disgusting', which all too familiar pattern is the insult to
women of the inadequate male; a boring and unhealthy
83
U cRovLEY's APPRENTICE
obsession with phdlic symbols such as guns and sports cars;
and above all, masochism.
By the end of his life, Regardie had treated innumerable
masochists, as a result of which he was convinced that
masochism stemmed directly from casuation arxiety. In
conversations with the present writer, he argued convincingly
that the masochist is inwardly so terrified of castration for his
repressed desire to make love to his mother, that he feels
compelled - in order to avoid that dread - to undergo
punishment and symbolic castration in various rituals of pain,
shame, degradation and humiliation at the hands of a real or
imagined mother-substitute.
Freud's oudook for humanlty as expressed in a brilliant
essay written when he was in his eighties, Ciailisation and lts
Discontents, was pessimistic. He had come to discern rwo
contrary instincts stmggling for control of the human psyche:
e/os, sex and life: and thanatos, death; and perhaps his
experience of the Nazis
lgd
persuaded him that Thanatos
would take charge within us. To a gentleman conditioned by
the culture of late nineteenth-cennrry Vienna, the full expres-
sion of the libido, though a vital matter for scientific investiga-
tion, was nevertheless profoundly disturbing. Freud thought
that a measure of repression was a necessary and essential
condition of human civilization. He advocated sublimation,
the channelling of destructive impulses into consciously
directed, socially beneficial and practically productive pur-
suits. Much as he admired the courage and insights of Freud,
Regardie had certain doubts. He still pondered Crowley's view
expressed.in Magick: In Tluory and Practice:
Professor Sigmund Freud and his school have, in recent years,
discovered a part of this body of Truth, which has been taught for
many centuies in the Sancnraries of initiation. But failure to grasp
the fullness of Trutt5 especially that implied in my Sixth Theorem
('Every man and every wonum is a star') - and its corollaries, has led
him and his followers into the error of admitting that the avowedly
suicidal 'Cflsor' is the proper arbiter of conduct. Official psycho-
ON THE COUCH
analysis is therefore committed to upholding a fraud, although the
foundation ofthe science was the observation of the disastrous effects
on the individual of being false to his Unconscious Self, whose
'writing on the wall' in dream language is the record of the sum of the
essential tendencies of the true nature of the individual. The result
has been that psycho-analysts have misinterpreted life, and
announced the absurdity that every human being is essentially an
anti-social, criminal and insane animal. It is evident that the errors of
the Unconscious of which the psycho-analysts complain are neither
more nor less than the 'original sin' of the theologians whom they
despise so heartily.
There was a further matter on which Regardie questioned
Freud's wisdom: occultism. Occultism was one of the maior
issues which brought about the parting between Freud and his
most promising student and colleague, Carl Gustav
lung
(1875-1961) as perceptively related by the late
James
Webb:
The defection of
Jung,
the 'Crown Prince', Freud's favourite son,
was a great blow to the founder of psycho-analysis but one of the
strangest aspects of the relationship between
Jung
and Freud is that
it occurred at all. Although Freud himself moved towards a
consideration of the supernatural in the years l92L-2, it was with
great reluctance and linle skill, at least in taking the basic precautions
against fraud ... At least up till the 1920's Freud maintained his
distance from the occult, and on one occasion tried to make
Jung
prornise to elevate his sexual theory of the neuroses into an
unshakable bulwark'against the black mud of occultism'.
]ung
in his
nrrn thought that for Freud sex had become what he called a
'numenosum' - a sacred and absolute category. It has been said that
Freud was afraid of religion and the occult: and that
Jung
was afraid
of sex. Whatever the truth of this,
Jung
can be seen as the
orlminating point of the late lfth-century occult revival. He put into
a terminology to which those brought up on the new and exciting
Lnguage of Freud could respond, the insights into the psyche which
the occultists and mystics of all ages had once expressed intelligibly
- butwhich had been veiled and to all intents and purposes lostby the
development of a vocabulary of modem science that excluded the
areas ofexperience ofwhich they spoke ...
85
86 CROVLEY'S APPRENTICE
A spectacular incident occurred in the presence of Freud himself.
Jung
visited his master in Vienna in 1909, and discussed Parapsy-
chology with him. Freud denounced the whole area of inquiry in
terms which annoyed
Jung
considerably, so much so that the Swiss
psychologist felt his diaphragm becoming'red-hot'. At that moment
a loud explosion took place in a bookcase beside the two men.
Jung
told Freud that this was an 'example of so-called catalytic exteriori-
sation phenomena' and predicted a second explosion, which duly
occurred. Freud was horrified, and initially tried to explain the
incident away.2
Jung
could not accept Freud's insistence on sex as being the
root of one's deepest motivations, and ftnally broke with the
former in 1913. Instead
Jung
came to posit the theory that we
are driven by three primary instincts: the will to live; the will
to create, or sex instinct; and the social or herd "instinct.
Subsequent research and reflectionled himto add the religious
instinct, unique to human beings, which urges one to seek
transcendental meaning in the data presented by life.
Jung
was responsible, too, for the.concept gf the Collectiae
(Jrrconscious.
This is the notion that beneath the personal
subconscious, there is an unconscious common to all. It is as
old as humanity itself, it is all our collective needs, fears and
desires, it inspires all true art, it is the redm of dreams and it
is the repository of all the symbols of mankind.
The attentive reader may have noticed the similarity of this
conception to the Magician's idea of the Astral, and the notion
of 'scryingin the spirit vision'. Significantly, many contempor-
aryJungians use atechnique whereby students and patients are
encouraged to imagine a
iourney
through a strange land
-
like
a waking dream -
and to heed the words of any 'guides' they
encounter. This is a watered-down version of Golden Dawn
technique for exploring the Astral or 'scrying' but it omits
every safety precaution against self-deception and the eruption
of self-destructive forces.
One can also discern parallels between Magic and analytical
ONTHE COUCH
gran' and women of 'the
great mother'.
Jungians
hold that this
psychology -
as
Jung
termed his way -
in the concept of
hi;zria"ation He saw this as a
iourney
of the self into the
Unconscious, to bring its ueasures back into consciousness.
There were various stages on the way, as in Magic. According
to
Jung,
first one encounters the 'shadow', all the violent
asplctJof the psyche which one has suppressed. In magical
teims, this is the Dweller on the Threshold of Initiation; and it
is the painful process of self-realization and self-accePiancg
which is all too- likely to occur to an initiate of the GD Portal
Grade. And, as in the GD Adeptus Minor initiation, the
process moves on to the death of the illusory self and the
rcsurrection of a deeper individuality.
,,
The next stage is confrontation with the 'soul-image" tlre
.anima or animus: the feminine aspects of every man and the
rmasculine aspects of every woman. After this, there follows the
, rppearance within the psyche of archetyPes - mythological
.
fibrtes recognized by all humanity. Men &eam of 'the wise old
87
,indicates
healthy resolution of unconscious polarities. Finally'
or so analytical-psychologists intend, the individuated, fully
integrated individual, who has examined, encounteredo expg--
rienea and balanced all unconscious drives within the self,
will go on his way reioicing.
It-is hardly suiprising that
Jung
turned his attention to the
occutt. His
-VII
Sermorus ad Mortues, originally published
enonymously, is heavily inlluenced by the Gnostics; his
,essociation with the Orientalist Richard Wilhelm led to a
lifelong srudy of and reverence for the l-Ching; h9 was
sufficiently impressed by Tibetan Tantra to write laudatory
prefaces to the texts edited by Dr Evans-IJ7enu; he became
;
engrossed in Alchemy, a subiect to which we shall reqfn in
&ti cor.ttse; and most important of dl, he was affected
:&roughout his life by psychic and mystical experiences. Nor is
itat all astonishing that so many artists and occultists have been
drawn to the work of
Jung.
Whereas for Freudians, the artist
is all too often merely expressing his neuroses, for
Jungians
he-
is the High Priest of the Unconscious. This is equally true of
88 CROTTLEY'S APPRENTICE
ON THE COUCH
and to Freud, he recognized the immense value of their work
and it became a vital oart of his thinkine. One can clearlv 3came a vital part of his thinking. One can clearly
the effects inhis Tlrc Art and Meaning of Magic, ( 1970)
a collection of three first-class essays written over the years.
*Therein one can find a lucid and rational exposition of
C-eremonial Magic from a psychoanalytic perspective. This use
psychological terms in order to explain the subiect reasona-
bly was not entirely original. Back in the early 1900s, Crowley
had endeavoured to equate Magic with cerebral neurology,
thus making it a branch of science: in The Initiated Interpreta-
tion of Ceremonial Magic,s he argued that the spirits and
demons evoked by the Magician are simply parts of the brain.
Evocation is therefore a matter of stimulating chosen brain
cells.
This physiological approach is limited by the substantial
difficulties of devising appropriate experiments and was
,oertainly
handicapped by the lack of appropriate equipment in
,the early years of this century. By 1908, when he wrote The
Psychologt of Hashish, Crowley was advocating the method of
psychologicd introspection and using Buddhist terms for the
classification of states of consciousness; and he appealed to
nren of science to become pioneers in this field.
It was left to Regardie to employ the more elastic and
popular terminology of psychoanalysis. In his sSajr he stresses
the essential sanity of Magic. Travel in the Astral? An
exploration of the Unconscious. Divination? Awareness of the
rhythms of the collective Unconscious. Evocation? The
hallucination, through psycho-drama, of a complex, the
energy of which is re-integrated into the psyche. Invocation?
C-ontact with an archetype. Initiation? Individuation. In other
words, Magic is a dynamic form of applied psychology. There
are many who would subscribe to this eminently sane position
and Regardie's arguments here are cogent and persuasive: but
prac-titioners often find that this reductionism takes the magic
out of Magic. Crowley recanted in 1909 and embraced the
obiectivist view: this position is simply that there is much more
to reality than the physical universe of the materialist, that
89
the
Magician: and no doubt both artist and Magician prefer the
Jungian
description of their activities to
-the
Freudian.
Occultists of the kind who neglect magical practice are
furthermore.delig_hted to find theiidearest 6efiefs endorsed by
so great a scientific and medical authority as
professor
Jung.
Regardie soaked himself in
Jung
for a time but despite f,is
respect-for analytical psychology and his incorporation of
manyof its concepts into his own thought, he disceined certain
objections. There is, for example, the question of will. Freud
had seen will as a unity, a blind, thruiting force of instinct.
Jung
divided the will
into
four. It is easy to imagine a variety
of circumstances in which the will to live, the sei instinct, thl
herd instinct and the religious instinct would be in conilict.
How, and at what level of the Unconscious, is conflict between
these inner,
_equally
valid wills to be resolved? Is
Jung
maintaining that we are cursed with divided and on occasioi
mutually exclusive instincts from our very birth?*
Again, it is difficult tobe satisfied with his notion ofthe herd
or social instinct as a primary drive. Some animals herd
together: others don't. Humanity varies. The most important
work in the advancementofhuman evolution has been done by
men and women of solitary habits. tUfhat
exactly ls the herd oi
social instinct? Is it merely a natural blind need for company?
Or is it that need for company which arises from- deip
insecurity?
-
in which case, it is surely a neurosis rather than an
instinct. Or is it a desire to win approval in the eyes of others?
-
in which case the same comment applies.
tWhat
can it have to
do with individuation? The answers are best left to
Jungians.
-
Secondly, Regardie was never satisfied with
Jung'Jcele-
brated division of humankind into introverts and exiraverts.
For him, this was far too simplistic. His experience with
patients clearly demonstrated that there are many individualc
in whom introversion and extraversion co-exist. Thirdly,
Regardie-noticed a principal danger of analytical psychology
and avoided it: the tendency to become uapped in i morass of
symbolism and a maze of myth without Lver gefting to the
point of the process. However, despite his objections to
lung
90 cRovLEY's APPRENTTcE
there is intelligent life in other dimensions, and that human
beings can grow wiser and greater by means of their encounters
with it. Regardie later modified his position too. The prcsent
writer recalls quoting the subjectivist position to Regardie in
the latter's own written words. 'That was what I thought then,'
he replied. 'I know better now.'
Five questions demanded Regardie's attention as a result of
his plunge into psychoanalysis.
I How could the disciplines of Magic and psychoanalysis (or "
analytical psychology) be brought together so as to be of
further and lasting use to humankind? The goals were
strikingly similar. Crowley had claimed that pschoanalysis
was merely a branch, and a rotten branch at that, of Magick:
Regardie was tempted to wonder whether Magic might be
just
a branch
-
dbeit a very important one
-
of psychology.
2 C.ould magical and mystical illumination co-*ist with
neurosis? This problem Vexed Regardie for years and will be
discussed in due course. For him it was a crucial issue. If
neurosis could co-exist with the highest illumination, then
Magic alone wasn't enough. Psychoanalysis was perhaps an
essential preliminary, even a necessary accompaniment.
And if, on the other hand neurosis and illumination were
munrally exclusive, what on earth was one to make of
Aleister Crowley?
3 Was the free association technique, consisting as it did of
verbalization, sufficiently effective? We are all no doubt
familiar with the sort of person who has psychoanalysis for
ten years and praises the analyst as if Christ had returned to
earth, yet the process doesn't seem to have done the blindest
bit of good. One suspects that this is partly because times
have changed so drastically since Freud first expounded his
theories. In the Vienna of the 1890s, Freud's ideas had had
a galvanizing effect upon the psyche which they do not have
today, when familiarity has dulled us. The statement'This
reveals that secretly you wish to kill your father and rape
your mother' could then have had the same shock effect as
oNTHEcoucH 9l
the sudden utterance of a Zen Master, which instantly
induces enlightenment in the student. Today we have an
obvious defence mechanism in intellectudization. It is easy
to imagine an intelligent patient calmly stating to the analyst:
'Yes,
you're quite right. No doubt there is within me a secret
but desperate desire to kill my father and rape my mother.
All right, I know that now. But how is this knowledge of the
slightest assistance to me?' Considerations of this nature led
Regardie to examine the work of those who were pioneering
dternative, non-intellectual, non-verbal therapies, most
notably Wilhelm Reich, to whom we shall be returning.
4 Magic and psychoanalysis were both processes of 'Know
Thyself' and 'Be Thyself; of making the vast resources of
the Unconscious conscious: how, then, could they be
advantageously combined so as to bring an ordinary individ-
ud to consciousness of his or her own innate divinity? How,
in fact, could these disciplines be used specifically to aid
Israel Regardid?
5 Vas Freud right in asserting that our primary drive is sex?
If so -
and here Regardie came to reiect the complexities of
Jung
and embrace the simplicity of Freud
-
to what extent
was an element of social repression necessary if civilization
were to flourish?
Regardie's later involvement with the work of Reich would
clarify the matter. In the meantime' he considered the
Freudian view of religion -
most ably set forth by Freud inThe
Future of an lllusion -
that God was merely another name for
the sex instinct: and contrasted it with Crowley's point that:
.S7hen
you have proved that God is merely a name for the sex
instinct, it appears to me not far to the perception that the sex
instinct is God.'
Notes
I
James
Strachey, 'Sigmund Freud: A Sketch of his Life and Ideas',
Sigmund Freud. 2. New lrxroductory Lectures on Psychoanalyai Pelican.
92 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
1 lgq
lFebb,'Carl
]ung,
in (ed.) The Encyclopedia of tlu Unexphined.
3
'T lu Initiated Interpretation oJ ceremoniat Magic' can be found in-the Notes
t9
_TIle !3)ord
o! SlnS n Tlu Collected Works of Aleister Crouley, Vol. II
(1905-7); and in Crowley's Preface to his edition of Goetia, (lgbt.
8
A Friend in
Jesus?
It is said by the Alchemists that prior to the appearance of the
Philosopher's Stone they seek and the interior ecstasy which is
the accompaniment of its appearance, there is a stage of
puuefaction. The Magician sees the matter in similar terms
and expresses it in the formula IAO. As Crowley has it:
In beginning a meditation practice, tlwre is alanys a quiet pleasure, a
gentle naturd growth; one takes a lively interest in the work it seems
casy; one is quite pleased to have started. This stage represents Isis.
Sooner or later it is succeedcd by dcpression
*
the Dark Night of the
Soul, an infinite weariness and detestation of the work. The simplest
and easiest acts become almost impossible to perform. Such
impotence fills the mind with apprehension and despair. The
intensityof this loathing canhardlybe understood by any person who
has not experienced it. This is the period of Apophis.
It is followed by the arising not of Isis, but of Osiris. Tlrc ancient
condition is not restore4 but a ncw ard supeior condition is created, a
condition only rendered possible by the process of death . . .
Even in the legend of Prometheus we find an identicd formula
concealed; and a similar remark applies to those of
Jesus
Christ, and
of many other mythical god-men worshipped in different countries.r
IAO is in this context the formula of elementary mysticism in
dl its branches.
Psychoanalysts are familiar with the phenomena which
occur when a patient becomes conscious of the conflicting
drives within the psyche, the resulting anxiety, and the need
for security which is usually fixated upon the analyst and called
transference. In any event the fact remains that Regardie passed
through a curious stage of Christian mysticism.
A variety of factors moved him to investigate the subject. He
wanted to familiarize himself with all methods of mystical
94 cRowI.Ey's AppRENTTcE
attainment. Mysticism is the transcending of intellectual
boundaries in a union with the Infinite. It is argued by mystics
that if rational thought is pursued far enough, it ends in self-
contradiction. A similar conclusion can be reached by the
successive study of Berkeley, Hume and Kant in the Western
philosophical tradition. In other words, we cannot apprehend
ultimate truth about the Infinite by the use of the finite
intellect. We will have to use methods of unleashing other
faculties of the brain.
All statements concerning Mysticism
- other than denials of-
its vdidity
-
fall into two categories: the prescriptive and the
descriptive. Prescriptive statements recommend or exhort
courses of action; they say: 'Do x.' Descriptive statements
expound the experience of the subiect. They might be highly
specific: e.g. 'I saw a red rose, heard a bell chime once, smelled
burning wood and felt a piercing pain in my heart.' Or they
might be vague and woolly: e.g. 'I was bathed in a-vibrating
ocean of God's love.' Urf,ortunately, the statements of too
many mystics are of the latter variety. It is very hard to express
the inexpressible, to translate what is beyond reason into the
words of reason. It is like describing sighito one born blind or
orgasm to a six year old. Many mystics lack literary ability
-
there is no reason why they should have it
- and this makes the
task even more di{ficult than it already is.
In the words of the Hindu proverb, Regardie panted after
God as a miser after gold. He did indeed at times experience
deep and glowing interior illumination: he built his life on these
experiences: but he could not express them. In common with
ffiily, he had to turn to art and poetry in which others
expressed what he felt so deeply. This was why Crowley was
his favourite author, why he memorized certain mystical
passages, why he was so fond of quoting favourite pieces in his
books as recommended prayers. One passage in particular
describes Regardie's state at this period.
!?eary, weary! saith the scribe. ![ho shall lead me to the sight of
Rapture of my master?
A FRTEND rN
lEsus? 95
The body is weary and the soul is sore weary and sleep weighs
down their eyelids; yet ever abides the sure consciousness ofecstasy,
unknown, yet known in that its being is certain. O Lord, be my
helper, and bring me to the bliss of the Beloved.2
Regardie had thrown himself into Hindu, Buddhist and
lewish
Mysticism. Now he tried the Christian version. It was
another gesture of independence from Crowley, who openly
despised every manifestation of the Christian religion. How-
ever, even Crowley had recommended the Spiritual Exercises
of Ignatius Loyola as first-class Yoga; and Regardie had
quoted and praised the work in The Tree of Life. Christianity
has further advantages. There is much safety and comfort in
the faith for anyone tormented by shame, fear and guilt which,
as Regardie openly admitted years later, was still his inner state
of being at that time.
The essence of
the
Christian religion is really quite simple.3
It is held that God so loved the world despite its wickedness
that He sent His only begonen Son,
Jesus
Christ, to redeem it.
After a short but remarkable life packed ri'ith incident,
teachings, parables, prophecy and even miracles, the Son of
Crod was arrested and tried by the authorities, then crucified
publicly between two thieves. It is believed that despite his
death and entombment,
Jesus
imitated the legends of Adonis,
Attis, Osiris and Dionysus and rose from the dead then
escended bodily into heaven. It is stated that
Jesus
is the
intermediarybetweenhumankind and God, that He will
judge
us after our deaths and that no man cometh to the Father save
by Him. For, it is insisted, in dying in agony on the Cross,
fesus
Christ atoned for and redeemed all the sins of hummiry,
past, present and future. If we are Christians, our primary task
is to have faith in the above propositions; many Protestant sects
hold that faith alone can save us from the fires of Hell, a place
of everlasting torment to which the unbelievers are sent along
with the wicked. Provided that our faith is sufficiendy strong,
Christ will forgive us all our sins and when we die, we will be
granted eternal bliss in the presence of
Jesus.
Roman C,atholics
96 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
agree that faith is essential but hold that works are required too.
A good Catholic must keep the commandments of Christ and
obey the Church if everlasting damnation in Hell is to be
avoided.
C-ompared to Hinduism, Buddhism or even
Judaism,
Christianity must seem somewhat unsophisticated intellectu-
ally to any unprejudiced observer, yet it has enjoyed and still
enioys extraordinary appeal. This is partly on account of its
simplicity. All one has to do is worship
Jesus,
believe in the
Bible - and, if a Catholic, in the words of the Pope, priests and
nuns -
uy to obey Christ's teachings and ask for forgiveness
every time one sins against them. Its appeal to the guilt-ridden
is obvious. One simply submits to
Jesus
and gets loved in
return. This is the ultimate attraction. It doesn't matter how
vile you arc;
Jesus
loves you!
The attentive reader may have noticed a mild antipathy to
the Christian faith on the pa t of the present writer: for his part,
he does not enjoy contemplating the idea of the six million
human beings who were tornrred and murdered as'witches'
and heretict b.t*..tt the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries
by sincere and devout Christians.a Nevertheless one must ask
which factors within Christianity fascinated Regardie. Perhaps
the most significant was the notion of Divine Love.
It is said that 'Perfect Love casteth out dl Fear' -
and
Regardie was attracted by a Catholic saint who is often
celebrated as an example of Perfect Love: St Francis of Assisi.
Regardie delighted in the saint's worship of Nature and of all
living creatures; he shared it; and at times the resemblance
became so marked that an older woman with whom he was
having a love-affair named him'Francis'. After that and for the
rest of his life, his friends would call him Francis. The lady in
question had a profound effect upon her lover. By his own
vtrbal account, she was the second of three women who
brought him through a vital stage of self-realization -
the first
was Maria Teresa de Miramar. In old age he would strongly
advise young men to have at least one affair with a woman old
A FRIEND IN
JESUS?
enough to be one's mother; 'Gets dl the Oedipal shit out of
you.'s
Of panicular interest to Regardie was the notion that the
Power of
Jesus
Christ could heal mortal aflliction. This led him
to a study of New Thought and Christian Science. New
Thought derived from the theories of P. D.
Quimby
(1802-66)
who believed that physical diseases were produced by wrong
ideas and attitudes and that patients could be cured by
changing their beliefs. The guiding principle of New Thought
is 'as a man thinks, so he is' and it uses the power of positive
thinking to heal disease. The International New Thought
Alliance has summarized its goals:
To teach the Infinitude of the Supreme One: the Divinity of man
and his infinite possibilities through the creative power of construc-
tive thinking and obedience to the voice of the indwelling Presence,
which is our source.of Inspiration, Power, Health and Prosperity.
Quimby
greatly influenced Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910)
who founded the Church of Christian Science to teach that sin,
disease, death and matter itself are illusions, based on man's
failure to comprehend his true, godlike nature. Its method of
healing, therefore, is to dispense with medicine, to dismiss
illness as error caused by misunderstanding, and to rely on a
tnre love and acceptance of God. Even in his seventies,
Regardie defended Mrs Eddy.
One of my friends of many years ago, the late Dr Hereward
C,arrington complained that I was leaning over backwards in my
attempt to be fair to Mrs Eddy. If this is in fact the case, then I must
onfess to a profound respect for this really extraorditta.y woman.
Insofar as she was constandy ill and a self-confessed failure through
to her sixtieth year, it seems a remarkable achievement to have
completely turned around the direction of her spiritual energies for
creative ends during the remaining years of her life. There are not
many people of whom this can be said. The average person is fairly
well played out by sixty. The fires of life are beginning to dim, if not
97
98 cRowLEY's APPRENTICE
go out altogether. She is thus worthy of detailed study and attention
(Foreword to The Teaclurs of Fulfillment).
Nevertheless, Regardie could not restrain his persistendy
questing intelligence. This led him to reject the historical
foundations of Christianity and ultimately to concur with
Crowley.
'Jesus'is a composite figure of several incompatible elements. There
is therefore no'he' in the case. The Gospels are a crude compilation
of Gnosticism,
Judaism,
Essenism, Hinduism, Buddhism, with the
watch-words of various sacerdotal-political cults, thrown at random
into a hotch-potch of distorted legends of the persons of the Pagan
Pantheon, and glued with a semblance of unity in the interests of
sustaining the shaken fabric of local faiths against the assaults of the
consolidation of civilisation, and of applying the cooperative princi-
ple to businesses whose throats were being cut by cumpetition
(Crwley on Christ). a
As Regardie said soberly to me on Good Friday, 1982;'Jesus
Christ never existed. It's all a bunch of legends of the time
cobbled together in an unsatisfactory formula of Osiris.' Even
so, he still believed that there are elements in New Thought
and Christian Science from which one could profitably leam.
It could not be denied that in many cases, the techniques of
healing worked. Then perhaps one could postulate the exist-
ence of some great, cosmic, Godlike force which could heal and
transform and which was non-sectarian.
Regardie would express his comprehension of the Christian
Science and New Thought perspectives in 1946 with The
Romance of Metaphyvcs, subsequently republished as The
Teachers of Fulfilhnmr. It was based on studies of ten years
before and bears the following dedication: 'CLARE, dear
friend, this book is dedicated to you, with fond and grateful
memories of the early thirties.' In the opinion of the present
writer, this is the least interesting and least lively of all
Regardie's works. However, one can certainly respect the
A FRIEND IN
JESUS?
motives which impelled its creation: a need to earth all that had
been learned in the form of a printed book: and a desire to
expound metaphysicd methods of healing. Additiondly,
Regardie had observed that effective psychotherapy brings out
a confused hunger for metaphysics in the patient and he
therefore wanted to point out elementary approaches in plain
language. His concern, strongly influenced by his studies in
r"
psychology, was increasingly the here and now. Some advo-
i coted seeking the Light up in Heaven: Regardie, like a
Prometheus of the spirit, sought after ways of bringing Light
down to Earth.
The Teachers of Fulfillmefi is along, detailed and intelligent
study of Christian Science, New Thought and the Unity
School of Christianity, whose doctrines are an amalgam of the
,two.
To my knowledge, it remains the standard text on the
zubject. The second edition (1983) boasts a Preface by
Bhagavan
Jivananda
and an Inuoduction by Colin Wilson who
concludes: 'It is this insight which pervades this remarkable
'bobk on metaphysics, and which makes it, to me, the most
.personal and moving of all Regardie's works.' Unfortunately,
Cnlin Vilson's Introduction to Regardie's Energy, Prayer and
Relaxation also concludes: 'It is this insight that pervades this
little book on energy, relaxation and prayer, and which makes
it, to me, the most personal and moving of all Regardie's
writings.'
Perhaps the confusion arose because Energy, Prayer and
Rehxation(lg82) was origindly part
-
the last three chapters -
of The Romonce of Metaphysr'cs, now republished without that
section as The Teachers of Fulfillnent. Energjl, Prayer and'
Relaxation is remarkably good and in due course we shall set
forth its concerns: for the present, our concern is why Regardie
;rchose to separate it from the original. This was in the main
I
because his approach to Christianity had altered. The Teachers
99
of Fulfillmezr ends with Regardie exhorting the reader to pray
with the words: Thc
forgioing
loae of
Jesus
Christ is expressed in
me. By the 1980s, he had developed a deep dislike of
Christianity and was editing and introducing Crowley's vitri-
100 cRowLEY's APPRENTTcE
olic diatribe against the religion, The W'orld's Tragedy.
Furthermore, although he had a low opinion of Anton LaVey's
Church of Satan, he held that it was healthier to go there than
to the Church of Christ. He had been lured to Christianity by
its promise of the forgiving love of
Jesus
for every weakness. It
was fortunate for him that he perceived his blunder and
repudiated such faith as he may have temporarily acquired.
Yet the experience wouldn't be wasted. Regardie asked himself
why it was necessary to have the Christian in the Science.
The theory of this Science is that there is some force
"
pervading all life in the Universe which can heal and
harmonize mind and body.
Regardie craved for that healing and harmony. During his
years in England, L929-37, his life was continually uncertain,
complicated and stressful. He suffered from constant poverty.
Snobs looked down on him: when Crowley had sent him to his
Jermyn
Street tailors, the assistants ushered him dovfrstairs to
the servants' and chauffeilrs' section
-
an insult he never
forgot. His books brought him very little money and it was a
continuous struggle to write them. Freudian analysis was
doing nothing for his asthma.
To repeat his question:
'Why're Magicians always so poor?
You never meet a poor Christian Scientist.' Regardie wanted to
isolate the techniques from their Christian context. Surely
what was wanted was simply something that worked for
ordinary people?
In the course of his research, it was inevitable that Regardie
would tackle a horribly difficult subject which nevertheless
promises divine transmutation of the being.
Alchemy.
Notes
I
Crowley, Magick: In Tfuory and Practice. There are more profound
considerations involving the formula of IAO but they lie beyond the scope
of this work.
A FRIEND INJESUS? l0l
Crowley, The Book of tlu Heart Girt with a Serpem, also known as Libq
lXZ, publishe din Tlu Holy Books of Tlulema.
For the record, the present writer was baptized into the Church of England
and largely educated at Church of England foundations but was never
confirmed in the Christian faith.
For a detailed exposition of this sickening rnatter, see Russell Hope
Robbins, FRCL, An Enqclopedia of lVitchcraft and Demonologlt.
I later took Regardie's advice and was delighted with the results.
SOLVE ET COAGULA
than the means of manifestation.t
Very few realized these relatively simple points and alchem-
were generally dismissed as imbeciles until 1850 when
103
Solve et Coagula
Let it suffice to say that the word alchemy is an Arabic rerm
consisting of the article 'al' and the adjective
.kehmi'
which means
'that which pertains to Egypt'. A rough translation would be
.The
Egyptian matter'. The assumption is what the Mohammedan
grammarians held traditionally, that the art was derived from that
wisdom of the Egyptians which was the boast of Moses,
plato,
and
Pythagoras, and the source of their illumination.
Modem research (by profane scholars) leaves it still doubtful as to
whether Alchemical treatises should be classified as mystical,
ryagical,
medical, or chemical. The most reasonable opinion isihat all
these obiects formed the pre-occupation of the alchemists in varying
proportions (Crowley: Magick: In Tluory and Prauice). *
The word is usually unierstood by the layman as the
endeavour to transmute base metals into gold. Although
historians of science have dismissed this endeavour as ignorant
and silly, they nevertheless have credited the medieval alchem-
ists and their successors as the founders, through their
experimental work, of modern chemistry. Further-enquiry
elicits the information that the alchemists were in fact se&in!
some substance which would accomplish the transmutation ol
metals, which they called the Philosopher's Stone. This was
also the Stone of the Wise and the Medicine of Metals: from it
one could easily make the Elixir of Life which cures all diseases
and confers immortaliry. If the alchemist succeeded in his
quest, therefore, he enjoyed health and wealth in abundance
and forever.
Matty alchemists wrote extraordinary books, usually excru-
ciatingly obscure, containing equally extraordinary iUustra-
tions teeming with bizarre and beautiful symbols. These
treatises make it obvious that the alchemists were not beknigh-
ted fools chasing health and wealth through some lunatic
notions of Chemistry. Crrtainly there were those who imitated
them without any comprehension
- the soffieurs, the
charlatans and the cranks
-
and these brought upon Alchemy
the scorn bitingly expressed, for instance, in Chaucefs Tlte
Canon's Yeoman's Prologue andJonson's Ttu Alchemisr. How-
ever, one cannot airily dismiss a subject whose exponents
included Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Nicolas Fhmel,
Basil Valentinus, Paracelsus,
John
Dee or Van Helmont.
Essentially, the true alchemists were mystics. What they
sought was the blaze of the divine light within the interioi
qpirit,
of which the appearance of the Philosopher's Stone was
but the outward sign of inner grace. The true alchemists were
ians also. As Crowley observed, alchemical texts
pfl begin with a substance in nature which is described as existing
ilmost everywhere, and as universally esteemed of no value. ThE
dchemist is in all cases to take this substance, and subiect it to a series
of operations. By so doing, he obtains his product. This product,
'however
named or described, is always a substance which represents
the guth or perfection of the original'First Maner'; and its
iualities
rre invariably such as penain to a living berng, nor to an inanimate
rfirass. In a word the alchemist is to take a dead thing, impure,
yalueless, and powerless, and transform it into a live thing, aiti*,
invaluable and thaumaturgic... The First Matrer is a man,lhat is to
my, ape^rishable parasite, bred of the earth's cmst, crawling irritably
upon it for a spq, and at last returning to the dirt whence lie sprang.
,!lr9
process of initiation consists in removing his impurities, arid
,finding in his true self an immortal intelligenceio whom
-"tt
, i, no
!{""y
Anne Atnvood published A Suggestiae Enquiry into tlu
tlgrmaic Mystery, in which she argued that the-true goal of
Alchemy was spiritual perfection. This marked the
smmencement of deeper understanding. In the twentieth
oentury, Carl
Jung
turned his finest attention to the matter.
t04 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
Jung
noticed alchemical symbolism cropping up in the dreams of
patients who knew nothing whatever of alchemy. He believed rhat
these symbols came from the 'collective unconscious' and regarded
the alchemical work as a process of individuation', the development
of an integrated personality. The various stages, trials and difficulties
ofthe work were a projection of the long, toilsome path towards unity
of the self.2
In Psychologt and Alchemy (1953)
Jung
concluded that
Alchemy was'rather like an undercurrent to the Christianity
that ruled on the surface'. He used the alchemical process as a
model for the progress of the patient.
Regardie's early views on Alchemy were taken from Crow-
ley, especially the idea that the correct interpretation of
Alchemy is in fact sexual. Many texts do bear this interpreta-
tion and make absolute sense when viewed in terms of Sex
Magick: this point has been made convincingly byRegardie in
Tlu Tree of Life, wherettechnical Sex Magick is described in
vivid alchemical terms as the Mass of the Holy Ghost; and in
cruder and plainer fashion by Louis T. Culling inA Manual of
Sex Magick The question remains as to whether the sexual
interpretation is the only valid one. Regardie came to think not.
He was persuaded to an alternative interpretation by his study
of
Jung
and was galvanized into writing another book by his
scrutiny of Anwood's work. This book was Tlte Philosopher's
Stone, a commentruy on three alchemical texts from the
perspective of Attwood and
Jung.
Some sort of key is definitely needed if there is to be any
comprehension of alchemical texts. For instance, the Philo-
sopher's Stone itself, the ultimate goal of the Great Work, is
never clearly defined. It exists everywhere in nature
-
yet it is
ignored or despised. It is unknown - but everybody knows
about it. It is made of fire
- and water. It is a fluid
-
but it
weighs nothing. It comes from God - except that it doesn't.
Alchemists are also unhelpful in their descriptions of the
processes by which one may achieve it. The language of the
alchemist's art is one of symbol.
SOLVE ET COAGULA
The king and queen, the serpent devouring its own tail, the phoenix,
the dragon, the peacock's tail, the tree, the bath, the mountain, the
,tose,
the green lion, the unicorn, the crucified snake, virgin's milk,
the massacre of the innocents and innumerable other emblems make
up the symbolic language of the art.3
Nevertheless, Richard Cavendish has managed to make
some sense out of the subject:
It remained a cardinal principle of alchemy that you could reduce
a metal or other material (and yourself psycLologiially and spiritu-
ally) to first matter by stripping all its iharacteristics-from ii. ttris
was to'kill' it. You could then restore it to 'life' and add desirable
characteristics to it, or 'nurture' it like a growing child, until it
became the Stone. The 'death' of the material is the mock death of
tiation into the Mysteries, and of initiation rituals in many
tocieties, which is followed by'rebirth'ro a new and better life. The
secret of the art was said to be contained in the maxim Sohte et
coagula, 'Dissolve and combine'. To'dissolve'means to strip away a
substance's characteristics, to 'combine' is to build up a new
substance.
Moreover:
The first steps in the work, leading up to the process called
'putrefaction' culminated in the nigredo, or black stage, when the
^materid
in the alchemist's vessel had been reduced to first matterand
innate spark of life had been driven out of it in the form of vapour.
is was called the Black Crow, Black Sun or Raven's Head and
be represented by a dead and rotting corpse, a black bird, or a
dead king eaten by a wolf. After this the 'dead' material was 'reborn'
.Bs
its own vapour condensed into a liquid and sarurated it, and this
was soon followed by the albedo, or whitening, when the white
tincture or white elixir formed in the vessel. The final processes led
on to the rubedo, the appearance ofthe red tincture, red elixir or red
powder, the miraculous Stone itself.
The alchemist laboured over his furnace and crucible, repeating
the same operations over and over again, reading and re-reading his
authorities and struggling to make sense of them, patiently wrestling
105
106 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
with inefficient equipment and incompetent or dishonest assistants,
surviving explosions, catastrophes and disappointments, devoutly
praying for help from on high. And eventually, perhaps, the
illumination would come, the great secret he had toiled and suffered
for so long would dawn on his mind. Often, the alchemists said, the
secret would be revealed by a figure in a dream, an angel or an old,
wise man. It has been suggested, tentatively, that on rare occasions
alchemists may have succeeded in making gold, if only in tiny
quantities, through a type of Psychokinesis, the influence of the mind
on matter.5
At the time of writing Tlu Philosopher's Stone, however,
Regardie would not have agreed with the view of Cavendish
that Alchemy was an actual physical process of metallurgy. He
had fallen into the classic
Jungian
trap whereby nothing is real
and everything is a symbol of some other symbol. In
consequence, Regardie dismisses the chemical
-content
of
Alchemy and trinslates*everything into the hfiguage of
analytical psychology and-generalized spiritual development.
The book is unquestionably interesting reading but the present
writer must forbear from further comment at his late subiect's
explicit request. 'By far my worst bookr'he added. '$[ish I'd
never written it.'
It says much for Regardie's integrity that when T&e
Philosopher's Stone was republished in the 1970s, he wrote a
new Introduction in which he publicly recanted his earlier
views. Contact with 'Frater Albertus' of the Paracelsus
Research Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, had revolutionized his
perspective. This society issues 'alchemical laboratory bullet-
ins' and appears to proceed in accordance with a work called
The Alchemist's Handbooft. According to Francis King and
Isabel Sutherland:
The Alclumists' Handboofr, written by 'Frater Albertus', who
would seem to be the presiding genius of the Paracelsus Research
Society, is largely concemed with the production of herbal elixirs by
alchemical means. It is clear, however, that Frater Albernrs has
carried out a great deal of experimentation on metals and minerals.
SOLVE ET COAGULA
For in an appendix to the Handbook he refers to such personal
achievements as the preparation of vinegar of antimony 'according to
the formula of Valentine' and the manufacture of the 'essences' of
lead, copper, and gold.6
As a result of the sharing of information and practical
laboratory experimentation, Regardie grew convinced that
Alchemybegan, continued and ended in working with physical
zubstances; that this was indeed a valid if difficult way of
reralizing the divine self by changing the human self; and that
enyone with sufficient determination, dedication and persist-
t,'ence could attempt it. He set up his own small laboratory and
went to work. One experiment in quest of the Elixir of Life
iwent
disastrously wrong and an explosion affected his lungs,
;grving
him the dyspnoea from which he ever afterwards
suffered intermittently. The results of his other experiments
'are
not known.
The pursuits of the alchemists should not be lightly
dismissed. Even if the Philosopher's Stone appears only rarely,
there are other notable benefits. Operations of Alchemy have
erupted in discoveries vital to chemistry and medicine in the
: past
- one thinks of Paracelsus' discoveries of opium, zinc and
hydrogen, for instance - and may do so again in the future. The
goals of Alchemy and the self-discipline and total absorption
demanded by the art put it on the same exalted level as Yoga
and Magic. Perhaps previous textual commentators have been
mistaken in their endeavour to translate Alchemy into another
and probably more limited language. In so doing, possibly we
rob ourselves of a potentid benefit. The beauty which abides
in alchemical treatises derives surely from the apt choices of
'symbol
and phrase, glyph and word, for the description of
interior mystical experience and the accompanying processes
of the physical world.
Unfornrnately, the alchemists make sense - and good sense
- only to alchemists, and others who endeavour to transmute
their gross being into something finer and nobler; and who are
thus familiar with altered states of consciousness. They make
107
108 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
no sense at all to anybody else, save possibly students of
quantum physics, nuclear energy and polarized light.
There is one obvious obiection to Alchemy. Though its
benefits - especially its ultimate material rewards
-
are
obvious, it does appear to be the most diflicult, complex and
obscure method for transmutation of the being. Its proponents
would no doubt argue that it has the advantage from the start
of involving the physical world and the body in addition to the
imagination, intellect, emotions and spirit, with results perpet-
udly evident in the behaviour of metals and herbs within the
vessel above the furnace. Clearly, Alchemy is a valid, time-
honoured way to the divine which may also possess the
potential for future discoveries of benefit to mankind, and
some will always be drawnto'the Art which requires the whole
mant.
Sensing that a major European war was imminent, Regardie
left England n 1937. He was glad to go back to America after
nine hectic, strenuous, traumadc and yet rewardingly produc-
tive years. As he stated n Thc Eye in the Tiangle:
After my experience with the Golden Dawn and q lengthy Freudian
analysis, for both of which I can say in all humility and simplicity -
thank God! - I retumed home to the United States. It was with a sigh
of relief as I sailed into New York harbour, after the wild storms and
turmoils of the preceding hectic years, years of initiation, harassment
and I hope, growth. It was good to leave the areas where conflict had
become accentuated.
Yes, he had experienced and would continue to experience
the Solae - but where was the Coagula?
Notes
I
Crowley, Magick: In Theory and Practice.
2
Richard Cavendish, 'Alchemy' in Tlw Encyclopedia of tlu Urcxplained.
3
lbid.
4
lbid.
SOLVE ET COAGULA
t
rbid.
6
Francis King and lsabel Sutherland, The Rebirth of Magic (1972).
109
THE ART OF TRUE HEALING lll
l0
'centre around which revolves the whole of social life as well as
the inner life of the individual'.
Two concepts are vital to Reich's thought. One is that of
plryiological armouing, that physical symptoms without any
neurological cause are the result of the body adopting a
posture, gesture or appearance designed to communicate an
inner, psychological happening. The second is his perception
of schizophrenia as a'bottling up'of energy in the iutonbmic
nervous system. The evolution of his thought has been adroitly
described by Francis King:
Reich's idea was that psychic disturbances cause muscular tension,
that this tension (armouring) reinforces the original psychic upheaval
and that, by a dialectical interaction between mind and muscli, a self-
perpetuating process of progressive physical and psychological
degeneration is established. Reich believed that this process could
ggty U" reversed by a therapy designed to treat both mind and body.
The first was t6 be tackled by fairly orthodox psychoanalytic
treatment, the second by deep massage and physical manipulations
designed to break up muscular armouring. Reich called ihe latter
process aegetotherapy because he believed that the energy prevented
frombeing released by armouring was stored up in the autonomic (or
vegetative) nervous system. It must be emphasized that Reich was
not so physiologically illiterate (as some Freudians have suggested) as
to believe that the muscles are part of the autonomic systemlr
Throughout his life he was a champion of sexual freedom,
and Communists and Nazis came to abhor him. Scientists
usually deride Reich's later work on'orgone energy'. For he
came to believe, as a result of his experiments, that orgone was
the basic life-stuffof the Universe, pervading all living things.
Vegetotherapy therefore became a process of liberating the
orgone energy within a human being, enabling it to flow and
pulse freely. Reich also developed a large upright box, big
enough for a man to sit in, called an'orgone energy accumula-
tor': he believed that this accumulator could extract orgone
energy from the atmosphere and radiate it into the human
The Art of True Healing
On his arrival in America, Regardie threw himself into
psychotherapy and the work of Wilhelm Reich. The next ten
years were as demanding in their way as the preceding decade.
He took a degree in psychology from the Chiropractic Collqge
of New York city, graduating in 1941; as we know, he
quarrelled violently with Crowley and repudiated his memory;
he joined
the US fu-y, 1942-5
- a step he later called 'a
ghasdy error. We were so inefficient, I don't know how we won
the war. I can only assume that the enemy was even more
ineflicient': he studied psychotherapy with Dr Nandor Fodor;
after the war he obtained a doctorate in psychology; and he
moved to Los Angeles h 1947, where he set up a practice as a
state-licensed chiropracter and, for those who indicated inter-
est, a psychotherapist and healer. In time he would also teach
psychiatry at the Los Angeles C-ollege of Chiropracric and
contribute essays to Psychiatic
Quarterly
md Tlrc Ameican
J
ournal of P sy chotherapJl.
In later life he repeatedly emphasized that Magic and
psychotherapy 'changed the course of my whole life'. How
come?
lUfhat
was it about the work of Vilhelm Reich which
had so deep and moving an effect upon Regardie?
tVhy
did the
United States govemment authorities imprison Reich and
seize and burn his books and manuscripts?
IIThat
did the man
have to say that was so terrible?
Wilhelm Reich (L897-1957) was born in Austro-Hungary
and qualified as a physician in 1922.T\erc followed rwo years
of postgraduate neurological work under Professor Wagner-
Jauregg.
Although Wagner-Jauregg was a bitter foe of psy-
choanalysis, Reich nevertheless became a full member of the
Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and practised Freudian analy-
sis. Gradually he came to the conclusion that sexuality was the
Lt2
body so as to cure every variety of physical and mental illness.
Francis King relates the sad ending:
By this time Reich had settled in the United States, and he soon
became engaged in the sale of his books and orgone devices through
the mails. This attracted the anention of the US Food and Drug
Administration, which decided that orgone energy did not exist and
that Reich's accumulators were fraudulent devices; and, in 1950,
obtained an iniunction forbidding their distribution. Reich disre-
garded this injunction -
he did not believe that any court had the
right to adiudicate on a matter of scientific theory. He was sent to
prison for contempt of court and died there in November 1957.2
Reich was a victim of what he himself had termed the
emotional plague. As Regardie states in Thc Eye in the Tiangle:
'The term "emotional plague" has no defamatory connotagion.'This
is Wilhelm Reich's definition, It does not refer to conscious malice,
moral or biological degeneration, immorality, etc., but a person who,
from birth, is constantly impeded in his natural way of living and so
dnelops artificial
forms
of locomotion. He limps or moves on crutches,
as it were. Similarly, an individual moves through life by means of
the emotional plague if, frorn birth, his naturd, self-regulatory
instincts have been suppressed. The individual afflicted with the
emotional plague limps characterologically speaking. The emotional
plague may be considered a chronic biopathy of the organism. Itis an-
epidemic disease, like schizophrenia or cancer, manifesting itself
eisentially rn Social living. Schizophrenia and cancer are biopathies
resulting from the plague in socid life, whose effects are to be seen in
the organism as in social living. Periodically, like any other plague, it
takes on the dimensions of a pandemic, in the form of a gigantic
break-through of sadism and criminality, as for example in the
Catholic inquisition of the middle ages or the international fascism of
the present century.
It was the emotional plague which caused Reich's enemies
to persecute the man and burn his books for, as Regardie states:
People who employ such a compulsive morality are actually terrified
THE ART OFTRUE HEALING
1
yrbal.
This short-circuits all verbal defence-mechanisms. The
at the emotional and instinctual possibilities latent within them.
Unconsciously, they have imprisoned themselves in a meshwork of
highly complex defense-mechanisms which block all possibility of
spontaneous behaviour. This network functions as an armor, both on
the psychological level as inhibitions, and on the somatic level as
muscular tensions and visceral dysfunctions. Anyone who is capable
of operating relatively freelg without the intervention of the aimor,
would awaken their hos*ility and resentment. Such a person would
represent all that they have hated and feared. He would be a threat
which could undo allthey have managed through a lifetime to repress
(Tlu Eye in tlu Triangle).
To return to basics: psychotlrcrapy
means simply the healing
,of
the psyche. The phrase is used as an umbrella to cover all
methods which are not Freudian,
Jungian,
Adlerian or Gestalt.
A principal way is that of Reich. His therapy is primarily non-
CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE ll3
"therapist uses varieties of massage and physical manipulation
urhile the patient is often instnrcted to hyperventilate, a
practice not dissimilar to certain forms of Pranayama in Yoga.
The intention is to break down the character armour, the front
of false selfhood which we put up to other people and to
ourselves in a continual denial of all we really feel. The goal of
the therapist is for the patient to achieve union with the
throbbing, pulsating, healing force of life itself which per-
meates every cell. We block offfrom that union on account of
the pain and repression we have experienced.
lUfe
forbid the
admission and expression of that pain. Unconsciously we
plaster anger all over our pain tien, since the expression of
onger is often considered to be socially unacceptable, we don't
cven admit to that anger and so degenerate into mean-spirited
crreatures who waste yet more energy in pretending to be
,nice'
end consequently hate themselves for the emotional dishonesty
and frustration involved. This deeply unsatisfactory process
gives one rigid character armour
- a limiting, restricting and
regrettable acquisition. It is expressed in an unconscious
cramping of the muscles and blockages within the autonomic
114 CROVLEY'S APPRENTICE THE ART OF TRUE HEALING
The tree of the life he had led at last blossomed to bring forth
fruits which nourished his deepesr appetites. One ambition
was fulfilled during the period under discussion. He had
always wanted to write something really helpful for ordinary
men and women which would not intimidate them with
foreign technical terms nor insist that they believe a dozen
improbable things before they are allowed to undertake the
I first step, which is to lie down on your back on a hard floor. Be
Yourself
- The Art of Relaxation is the ideal present for anyone
who suffers from nervous tension. Anyone who can read can
understand it. It tells you that life is a wonderful thing and
everywhere we see evidence of the inexhaustible energy of
nature. So how come you're often tired, initable, arxious,
fatigued or exhausted? You must be doing something wrong.
In fact, without knowing it, you are wasting your energy by
tensing muscles all over your body. Here are some simple
,tcchniques to relieve all the tension. They're fun to do as well.
The results are intbresting. You will feel more fulfilled. You
willhave access to an inexhaustible supplyofenergy ifonly you
be yourself. In order to be yourself, it is first essential to relax.
The exercises can be recommended without the slightest
hesitation. Seriously undertaken, they do what they profess to
do: they rela:< one, perhaps more deeply than one has felt in
years. All that is required is a hard floor and a vague ability to
visualize or at least think about parts of one's own body;
although strong visual ability really does speed up rhe process.
The style of the book is spare and clear in every phrase. The
author uses the clever stratagem of adopting the tone of Dr
Regardie and quotes conversations with unnamed patients, in
my view a legitimate and in this case tmthful literary device for
to one's matter the stamp of high authority. It works.
reader usually ends the book eager to try Dr Regardie's
orciting methods. Be Yourself
-
The Art of Relaxation,
probably rhe best self-help manual on rhe matter. It
astonishing that some maior paperback publishing corporarion
did not buy up the rights cheaply a number of years ago and
mass market the work in every supermarket and drug-store. It
115
nervous system. This is why Reichian psychotherapy goes
directly to the body. The obiect is to dissolve the neuro-
mus.rrlat t.e armouring which divorces outer ego from inner
life.
The process is painful. The massage itself hurts. The
therapisi works especidly on deeply sensitive areas -
the
mout-h, the throat, ihe solar plexus and the abdomen. These,
perhaps unsurprisingly, equate roughly with positio.gs o{
endoirine ghnds, the chakras of Yoga and the middle pillar of
the kabbalistic Tree of Life, when visualised upon the human
body. There are innumerable case histories of the results'
Fbr instance, the patient may find that as her mouth is being
massaged, she suddinly recalls a dog she'd entirely forgolgn
but wfiich she'd loved with all her heart at the age of four. She
suddenly remembers that one day, the dog was run over-by a
car. She wanted so much to cry for the sadness and grief of it
but her parents always told her to shut up wheneverthe cried
or else laughed at her anftold her that tears were only
{or
cissies. Literally, she bit back the tears. A neuro-muscular
cramp around 6er mouth resulted. Vhen the psychotherapist
dissoives that craffipr she will cry her eyes out, sob her heart out
and release all the irapped eneigy which was curdling within,
poisoning her psyche and preventing
-her
true fulfilment'
When tier solar plexus is tackled, she will scream out
everything she eveiwanted to scream but had to suppress: and
Reichian massage of the abdomen customarily elicits uncon-
uollable writhing of the belly, accompanied by a vivid and
virulent verbal torrent of obscenity.
In their
iourneys
to wholeness, adventurers-of the psyche
shriek, yell, howl, bellow, vomit and faint. Afterwards they
speakofthe great inner peace which-follows, of renewed vigour
*ithirr, of uicontrollabie feelings of love for all created life, of
energiied enthusiasm, confidence and zest for living,- of a
-"tti.dly
magnified capacity for coping wilhgverydgVlif. *9
of an apietitJfot
greater truths of the spirit- Regardie
ETttlf
underwint this process and again summed it up with: 'Thank
God!'
1S
is
l16 CROVLEY'S APPRENTICE
is notable too for the author's sagacious exhortation to adopt
the maxim: 'Sit loose to life.'
Regardie expressed his own view of Wilhelm Reich inReich:
His Theory and Therapy, a work I have read in manuscript and
which, I am delighted to learn, is scheduled for publication.
This is by far the finest study of Reich's theory and therapy
among the many that jostle for attention and shelf space and it
is by a man who underwent it, practised it and drew from
extensive clinical experience in his lucid and convincing
advocacy of the system's efficaciousness.
At last Regardie felt able to realize an earlier dream: that of
uniting Magic with Therapy. He posited the existence of a
force which animates all life. This force
- or'God'or'orgone
energy' - can heal and harmonize all which we are. It can
transmute us into the divine from the merely'human, all too
human'. However, scientific knowledge is required to activate
this force. Like the Alchemist, the Reichian psychotherapist
works physically. His handSgo to work on your body. Once
this force is aroused, the psyche of the person involved
demands more of it. This is how magical techniques enrer into
the maffer.
In Energjt, Prayer and Relaxation which, it will be remem-
bered, was on the second occasion published separately from
the original examination of Christian Science and New
Thought, Regardie gives his techniques of relaxation, instructs
the reader in a more advanced mode of activating energy, and
urges that for prayer to be effective, it must be powered by
energized enthusiasm within. The essence of the matter is the
Middle Pillar Technique. This unites all Regardie's concerns.
For its origins, we must retum to the Golden Dawn and a
document which was circulated among the initiates of its
descendant, the Stella Matutina.
In the aura which interpenetrates and surrounds our physical
bodies, we are to build up a replica of the Tree of Life. The Pillar of
Severity is on our right side, the Pillar of Mercy is on our left, and the
Pillar of Equilibrium in our midst.
.It
is best to-build up the Middle Pillar first. To do this stand up and
raise yourself in imagination to your kether
- a brilliant light above
your head. Imagine this light descending to Daath, at the nape of
your neck, and thence to Tiphareth in the heart where ir glowi like
sunlight and whence it radiates into the other sephiroth.
From Tiphareth the light goes ro Yesod in the region of the hips,
and thence to Malkuth in which your feet are planted.
The student is then instructed to vibrate Hebrew Names of
God corresponding to each Sephirah. As Francis King aptly
remarks:
It will be obvious to readers that this simple -
perhaps deceptively
simple - exercise bears at least some resembiance to the lantrit
procss of raising the Kundaiini. There is the same emphasis on
vivifying psychic centres (and it does not matter whetirer those
cntres are called 'chakras' or 'Sephiroth' on the replica of the Tree
of
r.ife
builtlp in ttre aura) and thi essence ofthe two processes is the
setting up ofa flow ofenergy through the centre ofthe
,subtle
body'.
There is, however, one very important difference between the two
processes. In one, the tantric technique oflayayoga, the energy flow
is upward towards the psychic centre which ii visualised aJ being
above the crown of the head. In the other, the Middle
pillar
Exercise,
tfe flow is exactly reversed, the visualised energy current flowing
downwards from the subjective Kether, also conieived of as being
above the head (Tantra
for
lVesterturs: A Practical Guidc).
It was Regardie who perceived the many possibilities
inherent within this exercise and who did more work on it than
anyone else. The Middle Pillar is the spine of The Middle
piltar
and TIU Art of True Healing. The Middle
piltar
presents a
psychological approach to mind and metaphysics th-en evolves
into a sensible and
fustified
advocacy of certain magical
practices, giving clear instruction in the Kabbalistic Cross, the
!-eqer
Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and obviously the
Middle Pillar in additionto the Assumption of God-formi and
the Vibration of Divine Names: it is a first-class introducrion
to basic magical work which is the foundationof allanainment.
THE ART OF TRUE HEALING Lt7
118 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
The Art of True Healing doesn't waste a word in its crisp
exposition of the Middle Pillar technique, as expanded by
Regardie. Here is how to do it.
Lie down on your back on a hard floor and rela:r.
Breathe slowly, deeply, easily and rhythmically. A cycle of
counting'four' as the breath flows out, as the breath flows
in, as the breath is retained and as the breath is expelled is
recommended.
Now visualize a sphere, roughly four inches in diameter,
whirling and glowing with brilliant white light at the crown
of the head. Vibrate the Name EHEIEH. Do this for ten
cycles of breathing.
Visualize light descending to form another sphere at the
throat, glowing with ulua-violet light. Vibrate the Name
JEHOVOH
ELOHIM for ten cycles.
Visualize light descending to form another sphere'at the
solar plexus, its colour being clear pink rose. Vibrate the
Name
JEHOVOH
ELOAH VE-DAATH for ten cycles.
Visualize light descending to form another sphere at the
genitals, deep purple in colour. Vibrate the Name SHAD-
DAI EL CHAI. Again, ten cycles.
Visualize light descending to the feet where they form
another sphere of rich russet brown. Vibrate the Name
ADONAI HA-ARETZ. T en cycles.
Contemplate the Middle Pillar you have established within
yourself. Picture the five central Sephiroth as throbbing
with energy on this Middle Pillar of brilliant light which
connects them. You will now try to circulate the energies
aroused.
As you breathe out
-
still maintaining your rhythm -
imagine the energy going down the left side of the body
from the head to the feet. As you breathe in, it travels up
the right side from the feet to the head. Do this not less than
four times. Ten is recommended.
As you breathe out, imagine the energy pouring down the
front ofyour body from the head to the feet. As you breathe
I
2
10
THE ART OF TRUE HEALING
in, imagine it rippling up the back of your body, from the
feet to the head. Do this four or more times.
Now throw your attention down to your feet. Imagine the
energy rising up through the Middle Pillar to the crown of
the head as you breathe in. Then as you breathe out,
picture it cascading back down to the feet. Some call this
The Fountain Exercise. Do it four or more times.
The Exercise of the Interwoven Light: as you breathe in,
imagine that a band or bands of brilliant white light are
weaving around your body, starting from the feet. Like an
Egyptian pharoah, you are being mummified. C-ontinue
until your head is finally within the weaving.
Express a silent prayer or prayers, using words which mean
something to you.
You are now able to enjoy fully the glorious sensation of
this technique. You may choose simply to bask in the
healing and refreshing energies aroused. You may choose
to change the 0olour of the aura around you in order to
attract things you might want: there is full instruction on
this practice in Tlrc Art of True Healing.
Regardie insisted that the Middle Pillar is a magnificent
multi-purpose tool which anyone with a will can activate
relatively easily. Its first benefit is the deep relaxation it
induces. One breathes more easily. One feels much more
oneself. One brings one's latent powers to life. One direcdy
experiences a phenomenon which can be variously termed 'the
life force'or'God'or'orgone energy' and which grants one a
deepening ecstasy of being which harmonizes the self.
Regardie used it to enlighten and guide him: 'I never go to
sleep without first lighting the lamp of Kether above my head,'
be declared decades after his book first appeared.
An ability to heal others was a third astonishing benefit. He
found that if he performed the Middle Pillar prior to seeing a
patientrhe hadaccess to aforce whichhe could pass onthrough
his hands to their bodies.
In the fourth place, he came to look upon the power aroused
119
1t
12
13
L4
tn CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
by the technique as the necessary and essential condition of
productive magical work. Unless this force was aroused, he
argued, the result would be empty posturing. Crowley had
termed this power'energized enthusiasm'and it was Regardie
who gave the simplest instructions for its attainment.
One can understand that it is hard for the lay reader to
appreciate the excellence of the Middle Pillar process. One can
only challenge the open-minded to try it for six months and
record the results. If nothing else is accomplished, at least there
will be valuable training of the mind in necessary disciplines of
memory, visualisation, and concentration: but the present
writer would be astonished if six months of daily work did not
accomplish some form of rewarding transmutation of the self.
The matter of Talismans will be considered in its proper
place: here let it suIfice to say that Regardie thought that these
obieas made in order to realize a desire, can be 'charged' or
'activated' or 'made to work' through a passing of'energy
aroused by a successful Middle Pillar exercise through the
hands and into the talisman, with accompanying one-pointed
concentration and rhythmic breathing.
The technique so essentid so Regardie argued for effective
Magic, was in his opinion indispensable for officers of
initiation working under the Golden Dawn system. Unless the
inner power was pulsating within the initiatory officers, the
ceremony would be worthless: but if the power was present,
the oflicer could pass it on to the candidate, thus activating the
part of the psyche which the ritual is designed to bring forth.
There is a further possible application of the Middle Pillar
and it is Tantric. However, in the best book on the matter for
many years, Tantra
for
Westerners: A Practical Guidc to the
lVay of Actdoz, Francis King discerns a problem in Regardie's
rescension of the matter.
Many initiates of the Stella Matutina seem to have been well aware
of the 'correspondence-in-reverse' between the Exercise of the
Middle Pillar and the tantric process of Kundalini arousal. Thus the
late Dr Francis Israel Regardie, at one time Aleister C,rowley's
THE ART OF TRUE HEALING
secretary but subsequently an initiate of the Stella Matutina, argued
that the two processes are only distinguished from one another by
one thing, this being that the Middle Pillar Exercise reflects a
Western concern with the world of matter and its practicalities, with
'bringing the Divine down into humanity' and spiritualizing the
physical, while Kurrdalini yoga is 'otherworldly', rejects material
things and is concerned with divorcing the soul from the flesh and
uniting it with the Absolute.
With the greatest respect for Dr Regardie and the many excellent
books he wrote - books for which all students of the Golden Dawn
owe an enormous debt of gratitude to their author - I think he was
mistaken on this matter.
It seems to me that he disregardedthe fact that in the Middle Pillar
Exercise, however successfully it may be performed and of whatever
desirable results it may be productive, there is no exploshte marriage of
polaities.It is true that the energy of the Sahasrara/Kether chakra is
tansmined'downwards' with the obiect of giving life and power to
the other chakras, but there is no transference of essance, the inmost
b.itrg, of the subiective Kether (Shiva, in tantric terminology) to the
'site' of the subiective Yesod, the Muladhara chakra where dwells the
serpent power. Nor, of course, is there an'upward'transference from
Yesod to Kether, from the Muladhara to the Sahasrara. And without
such a transference ofone sort or the other the marriage ofopposites
cannot be consummated.
IVith
the greatest respect to Francis King and his many
excellent books, I think he may well be mistaken on this
matter. In my view, there are a number of Tantric elements in
the Middle Pillar Exercise as it stands. Firstly, in what I have
termed The Fountain Exercise whereby energy is sucked up
the Middle Pillar from Mdkuth to Kether, thence to cascade
in a fountain of showering sparks of light and life, forming an
aura as it returns to Malkuth, one is surely employing the
polarities of Kether and Malkuth: no wonder that the
Kabbalists state that'Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in
Kether but after another manner.' Mr King might obiect that
the use of Malkuth at the feet is inappropriate for Tantric
working and I think he would be right: but the problem can be
L2l
t22 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
solved by doing The Fountain Exercise, using instead
Malkuth the genital centre of Yesod -
also known
Muladhara chakra.
Secondly, in what has been termed the Exercise of the
Interwoven Light, the student is instructed to imagine a band
or bands of light arising from Malkuth to mummify the body
up to the crown of the head. One way of doing this effectively
is to visualize the band of light as being the Serpent of Wisdom
of the Kabbala. It is important to pause for a while at Yesod/
Muladhara, the genital centre' and identify the Kabbalistic
Serpent with the Serpent Power, the Kundalini, of Tantric
Yoga, lusting after union with all that exists in Sahasrara/
Kether at the crown of the head. Mr King may conceivably
have missed these minor points but he has certainly grasped
the maior issue:
Nevertheless ... the adaptation of the occidental exereise of the
Middle Pillar to tantric purpmes is perfectly feasible: the tantric !flay
of Action in the context of the techniques associated with the
Western Esoteric Tradition (Tantra
for
lVestemers).
Furthermore, Mr King has indeed done valuable work in
specifically applying the Middle Pillar technique to Tantric
purposes. Regardie would have warmly welcomed this devel-
opment, for as he stated n What You Should Know about the
GoldenDawn: 'However, I do agree entirely with Mr King that
the Golden Dawn techniques are capable of almost indefinite
expansion. There is much work to be done.'
The Middle Pillar technique is much safer than Kundalini
Yoga. Practice of the latter system requires a qualified teacher.
Otlerwise the persistent student is only too likely to arouse the
Serpent Power which will probably arise, vivify the being, get
stuCk in a lower chakra, induce mania and catapault the seeker
into psychosis. This distressing phenomenon occurs because
the student has activated more power than his present state of
being can handle. Experiments in Kundalini Yoga undertaken
while under the influence of powerful, mind-expanding drugs
THE ART OF TRUE HEALING t23
as
of
the
which intensify the ability to visualize, crrlminate - with
dismaying frequency - in the subiect acquiring impressive
sexual charismi accompanied by messianic convictions, vio-
lent behaviour and a delusional system of thought. It can be
argued that something of this sort happened to Charles
Manson, self-proclaimed messiah and murderer, and ex-
member of a degenerate magical order, the Solar Lodge of Los
Angeles.
By contrast the Middle Pillar does not require ateacher or
guru. There is no danger involved at all. Because the process
itarts from the top, at Kether,/Sahasrara, the centres of power
are acting as transformers to bring down the energy. They
won't and don't admit more energy than the being can handle.
In the Middle Pillar we have a method for expanding
consciousness on every level of awareness and of employing the
power activated for all manner of productive purpo_ses- Here
itegardie made a major contribution to both Magic and
Tlietapy in his adroit union of the best in both for the good of
all. Hii work has had an important influence upon succeeding
generations of students of Magic: one hopes thal the wisdom
Las percolated through to at least some students of psychother-
apy. His own constant use of the technique embodied so many
ol his concerns: expanded consciousness; practical sorcery;
Kabbala; Yoga; Magic; healing; and psychotherapy, not to
mention Alchemy and orgone energy.
In the course of builing up his practice during the 1950s,
Regardie stayed aloof from the occult movement, partly on
acJo"nt of his bitterness over the Crowley quarrel and partly
on account of his profound distaste for contact with cranks. He
prospered
-
eventually earning a regular income of the'then
mosf munificent sum of 80,000 dollars a year
-
he enfoyed life
and he endeavoured to grapple healthily with its attendant
difficulties: he was married and divorced three times with no
children. I know nothing of his first marriage. He was reticent
too about his second, although a mistress informed me that this
wife was a beautiful socialite and his greatest love. Possibly;
from what he told me, this last was not my impression. His
124 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
pithy summary of his third marriage will be related later. More
germane to our present pu{poses is the question of the work he
did for those who paid money to consult him.
He was, we recall, a doctor of psychology and a state-
licensed chiropracter. Chiropractic is a system of medicine
which relies on manual manipulation of the spine to ease pain
- one can readily perceive its affinities with Reichian psycho-
therapy. But to begin with, the maiority who went to Regardie
required relief from backache. When he cured that, a number
were so pleased that they wondered what else he could do for
them. If they persisted, they discovered a lay analyst in the
Freudian tradition who was also intimately familiar with the
Jungian
approach and who was furthermore qualified to apply
the methods of Reich to ailments far more problematic than
backache. These methods were supplemented where necessary
by philosophical insight and magical techniques. In other
words, Regardie was also what a leading British novelist, Doris
Lessing, has termed'a soul dsctor'. Yet he never advertised his
magical background. There was no need to advertise at all.
\U7ord
spread. People came to him. They may have found his
treatment unorthodox but it worked - as Chris Monnastre has
recorded in her Introduction to the 5th Edition of The Golden
Dazln.
I entered into
approximately two years. Apart from Reich's method of therapy, he
also incorporated some basic pranayama yoga techniques and
chiropractic adjustments. But he also occasionally worked at activar-
ing one chakra located below my breastbone and above my solar
plexus which on the Tree of Life would correspond to Tiphareth.
\Within
a brief time, I felt the'srreamings' referred to by Reich in his
writings and others who have experienced this kind of therapeutic
work. But the experience of this particular chakra being activated was
beyond description! On one occasion I experien-ed an acnral
glowing, pulsating sphere within the center of my body which felt
like an electrified tennis ball!
Years later, however, I am convinced that this kind ofoccurrence
was not
iust
the result of Regardie's success as a good Reichian
therapy with Regardie for a period of
THE ART OF TRUE HEALING
therapist, but also due to many years of his own dedicated work with
the Middle Pillar technique which he frequently referred to as the
'sine
qua non' of all magical work. In other words, Regardie was able,
by a kind of process of induction, to begin to open me up to the
entrance of powerful healing creative energy from profoundly deep
reservoirs ofthe unconscious (and in the absence ofverbal therapy!).
Wilhelm Reich had called this energy'orgone'and, in his opinion, it
is what numberless generations before revered and worshipped as
'God'. A
Jungian
may call this Soul, Self or 'meaning' depending
upon individual interpretation. Or a Freudian may relate to this
phenomenon as a release of libido. But the Magician calls this
experience and influx of energy L.V.X. and with proper training and
dedication, is able to release ithimorherself ITITHOUTTHEAID
OF AN OUTSIDE PERSON OR AGENCY!
Regardie had a phenemenal ability in generating this kind of
energy quickly and efficiently. However, once in 1982 he confided to
me that if any person worked the Middle Pillar technique twice daily
for a significant period of time, that the same result would eventually
occur. If this daily. work were combined with sustained relaxation
and prolonged rhythmic deep breathing, one could, in effect, become
oze's OWN 'H'icrophant'and trust that one's personal Genius would
guide one within the pure intention of sincere effort.
Chris Monnastre first met Regardie in October 1971 and
shortly afterwards, as she has related, entered into Reichian
therapy with him. By her own account: 'I was too shy to
venture any serious questions about the nature of magic, and
thp few I hinted toward he avoided completely.'The therapy
ended inl974 and for the next five years, dthough Monnastre
and Regardie were in contact, 'he still continued to be reticent
regarding any discussion of magical matters'. It wasn't until
1979 that Regardie was prepared to advise the use of the
Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram
-
a clear indication of his
mature view that psychotherapy should precede Magic.
There were good reasons for Regardie to keep quiet about
his involvement in Magic. He had been appalled by the
harassment, suppression and imprisonment of Reich and did
not want to share that fate. Nor did he wish to be regarded as
125
126 cRorrr,Ey's AppRENTTcE
a crank. He was sick and tired of receiving letters from self-
professed magicians whose words and whose lives supplied
evidence of little other than the likelihood of Magic exacerbat-
ing already sufficiently severe problems of inflated ego,
character armour and emotional plague.
In his inner life, Regardie was doing his True Will
-
as
Crowley would have put it. He was healing human beings and
when possible, educating them into knowing the true source of
that healing power. In terms of method, he was a logical
pragmatist. He used whatever worked,
judging
the issue
through close observation of clinical data. If the technique
worked, that was that. If it didn't work, no amount of elegant
theorizing could save it from his scornful dismissal.
The conviction took root in him that the Magician musr
undergo some form of psychotherapy, if the dangerous side-
effects of initiation were to be avoided. Contact with other
occultists and their glaring display of humourless self-
importance and other neuloses continued to appal him. For
some decades he held to a self-imposed rule that he would not
discuss Magic with a sflrdent unless the latter had experience
of some method
-
he didn't care which although he preferred
Reichian
-
of psychotherapy.
It was as though his stripping away of everything other than
the essentials of Crowley, Reich, Golden Dawn, Alchemy,
psychoanalysis, analytical psychology and the Science and Art
of True Healing and the subsequent fruidul, practical combi-
nation of these essentials had brought about his own transmu-
tation
- Solae et Coagula as it is said. He had finally achieved
individuation and harmoniously had put it all together.
tVhich
is when there occurred the renrn of The Beast.
Notes
I
Francis King, 'S0ilhelm Reich', in The Encyclopedia of the Unexplained.
2
lbid.
t1
'It's a funny old world ...'
Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie quarrelled violently
shortly after the latter's return to America, it will be recalled.
Crowley's horrendous libel caused Regardie to divorce himself
from other occultists and to banish the shadow of the man from
his consciousness. Given the vicious words which Crowley had
written in response to Regardie's own vituperation, one can
easily comprehend the lasting anger of the latter. What
brought about a change ofheart?
Aleister Crowley died in relative poverty and obscurity in
Hastings, 1947. Needless to say, Regardie was not among the
mourners. Yet in 1951 he bought a biography,The Great Beast
by
]ohn
Symonds. Given Regardie's-animbsity to Crowley,
one would have expected him to have been delighted by this
hostile and spiteful portrayal. Instead Regardie was galvanized
into a reconsideration of everything to do with Crowley,
including and especially his own experiences. Despite his
many reservations, he was genuinely ouuaged by Symonds'
book:
It would not be decent to let this opportunity slip by, and let the
world continue in its belief that Symonds' horrible account is
veridical (The Eye in tlu Tiangle).
Fornrnately, Regardie was no longer in awe of his'former
mentor. Through his dedication to the Great Work he had
frnally acquired that true self-confidence which enables one to
reflect on painful experiences and evaluate them objectively.
He recognized that the time had come to digest fully all that
Crowley had meant to him. His sense of
iustice
was deeply
offended by the ignorance and prejudice of Symonds' book
which, in its snide and sneering incomprehension, negated all
128 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
values for which Regardie had struggled so manfully. He felt
compelled to write a work intended to restore objectivity,
which would give Crowley's ideas balanced consideration and
which would also clarify for himself his own ultimate reactions
to The Beast.
It took very many years to write this book, which did not
appear until 1970 as The Eye in the Tiangle: An Interpreration
of Aleister Croutley.Here he returned to the Magic of his youth
but brought to it the wisdom and maturity of age. Thc Eye in
tlu Tiangle delights most readers and is considered by most
authorities to be by far the finest and most profound study of
an extraordinary and controversial figure. Its many insights are
of permanent value. It is also a rather strange book and unlike
any one has read.
It commences with a persond memoir of Crowley written
from the author's contact with him 1928-32. Then it expgunds
the subiect's life and concerns qnl)r up until 1914, even though
he lived on for another thirty-three years. Why?
It is my considered belief that he mighl
iust
as well have died
around l9l4 and prepared for his next incarnation. Sometimes we dl
live
iust
a bit too long for our own good. To die early might be the
better part of both valor and wisdom.
It is certain that almost all of Crowley's finest creative work was
executed before the year 1914. From then on . .. he marked time ...
his day was done. Thirty more years had to elapse before he was able
to shuffle offthis mortd coil, but in that period of time he did himself
and his reputation incalculable harm. His reputation was not
brightened one iota by his life after that date. It is largely for this
reason, that I have not taken my story of his pilgrimage beyond the
bright period of his highest creativity (The Eye in thc Triangle).
It does not appear to have struck the author that if Crowley
had died in 1914, as he strongly recommended, he could not
have met the man to whom, as he confessed, he owed
'everything I am today'. In fact a footnote to the above passage
indicates certain doubts as to the wisdom of his own opinion.
.IT'S
A FUNNY OLD VORLD ...'
I have reflected long on this early observation of mine, and have
concluded that it should be modified ... It is possible that
circumstances and my conscience may oblige me to write, later,
another volume to this work dilating on his later experiences and
literary as well as magical career.
It is very unfortunate that this did not occur. Evenso, The
Eye in the Tiangle remains a remarkable work. It insists that
Crowley was 'A God-intoxicated man', a genuine Magician
and Mystic, a beautiful and truthful writer on these matters, an
outstanding poet and a great man gifted with genius despite his
many personal flaws. He remained an enigma for Regardie.
The laner quotes Charles Richard Cammell's I leister Crowlejt:
The Man: TIu Mage: The Poet: 'Explain to me the riddle of this
man!' He keeps trying to strike a balance: praise is often
followed by damnation of 'the nasty, petry, vicious louse that
occasionally he was on the level of practical human relations'.
Regardie reveals his own concems as he explains those of
Crowley. Much time and space are spent upon the Golden
Dawn and the author convincingly demonstrates the central
importance of the Order's teachings in the thought and
practice of his subject. He observes and applauds Crowley's
early struggles to master mind control and Yoga. His under-
standing of Crowley's experiences in China and after is
magnificent. Yet gradually there emerges the desire of
Regardie to put Crowley on the couch and give him psycho
analysis. This becomes especially evident in the chapter called
'North Africa'in which Regardie analyses and comments on
the events which took place in the Sahara, 1909, when
Crowley, accompanied by Victor Neuburg, invoked the
Aethyrs of Enochian angel-magic, recorded in the document
published as The Viion and the Voice. The commentator
concurs with Crowley's view that these are indeed wondrous
and sublime visions; he does not doubt the vdidity of the
experiences, the majesty of the language and the wisdom
contained therein, but he nevertheless perceives an area where
Crowley failed. To this end he examines the Vision of the lOth
t29
130 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
Aethyr which describes an encounter with'that mighty Devil'
Choronzon.
According to Crowley, Choronzon - whose Number is 333
and whose Name means Dispersion -
is the Great Demon of
the Abyss through which the Adept must pass if one is to be
reborn as a Master. According to Regardie, Choronzon is the
deepest repressed portion of one's own psyche. He equates it
with the symbol of the Devil and in Crowley's case, his
unacknowledged father-hatred and Oedipus complex - and
the latter's writings are cited in evidence. Regardie argues
,
skilfully that Crowley failed to accept that these destructive
energies were within his own psyche; that as a result he was
unable to annihilate his ego entirely; and that his crossing of the
Abyss was therefore flawed. Perhaps he did indeed manage the
crossing -
but his ego and his repressed complexes played
possum, only to become severely swollen in the years to come.
Such is the Regardie thesis here.
It is perfectly possible that Regardie was right. As Crowley
wrote inhis Diarie.s during the 1940s: 'What an ass I've been!'
We have noticed Regardie's preoccupation with the issue of
illumination and neurosis. In The Eye in the Tiangle he
endeavoured to resolve the problem:
That Crowley was illuminated there can be no doubt whatsoever.
The more significant doubt that has been brewing in my mind for
over three decades is whether his spiritual experience could have
resolved his large psychoneurotic problem. It is now my strongest
contention that it could not. Crowley's autobiography, as well as the
other critical biographies, infer unequivocally that it could not.
A few years ago, I had a pleasant dinner with Mrs Ruth Fuller
Sasaki and Dr Henry Platov, both of whom are prominent in the Zen
movement in this country, the latter being an authorised Roshi or
teacher in this area. After a while the conversation turned to Zenmd
psychotheraphy. Specifically I asked Mrs Sasaki if the Zen discipli-
nary process (which is not merely a series of philosophical precepts)
could cure a psychoneurosis. Emphatically she replied that Zen is not
a psychotherapy. The inference is therefore that a frankly neurotic
.IT'S
A FUNNY OLD WORLD...' r3l
personality can co-exist with the highest illumination, the attainment
of the Praina Paramita.
On later occasions, discussing this problem with Dr Platov, he
took a somewhat different view that the different satois, or
illuminations, over a period of time may gradually heal the neurotic
'lesion', if we may so call it, and tend to integrate the personality. In
a Zen monastery, if a candidate presented a frank neurosis which
markedly interfered with his acquiring the needed meditative skills,
he would either be dismissed or asked to consult another Roshi'
perhaps housed in the same monastery, for a species of psychother-
apy; showing a clear realization that Satoi however profound does
nothing to the neurosis itself.
According to Regardie, Crowley was indeed a Master but
one disfigured, so to speak, by the most unsighdy blemishes,
blisters, scars, pimples and boils. Crowley's probable answer to
this charge is contained in his Tlu Book of Lies, Chapter 40,
THE HIMOG
-
HIMOG being a Notariqon of the words
Holy Illuminated Man of God.
THE HIMOG
A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one
colour that it is not.
This Law, Reason, Time, Space, all Limitation blinds us to
truth.
All that we know of Man, Nature, God, is
iust
that which
they are not: it is that which they throw off as repugnant.
The HIMOG is only visible in so far as He is imperfect.
Then are they all glorious who seem not to be glorious, as
the HIMOG is All-glorious
ufithin?
It may be so.
How then distinguish the inglorious and perfect HIMOG
from the inglorious man of earth?
Distinguish not!
But thyself Ex-tinguish: HIMOG art thou, and HIMOG
shak thou be.
In his penultimate chaper, 'Attitudes', Regardie is still
L32 cRo\trLEY's APPRENTTcE
grappling with the problem of understanding the nature of
The Beast. The tone throughout is one of ambivalence. At
times the author appears determined to put Crowley down:
severel sentences later, there is an enraptured paean ofpraise.
He keeps assuring the reader that his subject had many faults
which he did not miss and he does this every time he overdoes
the appreciation. He also keeps assuring the reader that
Crowley was a genius of the spirit and he does this every time
he overdoes the criticisrn.
This ambivalence was also reflected in Regardie's behaviour
in 1981-2. He sometimes liked to startle timid, 'spiritual'
guests
- the word'spiritual' surely suggests some nauseating
commercial brand of camomile tea - by striding around his
home proclaiming: 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the
bloody law,'and I'd cheerfully chime in with: 'Love is the law,
love under bleeding will.' Feeble'New Age'people would be
treated to a long, rational lecnrre on the virnres of Crowley. Yet
over-earnest and excessively devout Crowleyans found him
even more shocking. Pious disciples were only too likely to be
told at dinner: 'You see, the one thing about Crowley which
took me years to understand was his occasional desire for
women to piss and shit on him. Can't say I ever shared his taste
myself
-
but the old man used to love it!'
By this time, Regardie had established a formidable reputa-
tion in his own right: as I remarked to his secretary; 'he's the
old man now.'Yet he freely and openly admitted, without the
slightest embarrassment, that Crowley's anainments were far
greater than his own. He recognized that he owed him a debt.
As we noted in the first chapter of this work, Regardie always
endeavoured to behave honourably. He proceeded to edit a
succession of Crowley?s works for publication: Book Four,
which still impressed him; Three Holy Boofrs whose beauty had
moved him; AHA! a mystical poem which still thrilled him;
The Vision and the Voice, which made him wonde\ The
World's Tragedy, which demonstrates his complete repudia-
tion of Christianity in the editor's expressed concurrence with
the author; Thc Best of Crowley, which consists of the literary
.IT'S
A FUNNY OLD VORLD...'
pieces he loved most; Magick lYithout Tears, which he had
initially found lamentable and came to find laudable; and above
all else, Gems
from
tlu Equinox: AII the Magical lVritings.
He really did feel a need to place Crowley's theory, practice
nnd
general wisdom before the public. An Introduction
accompanied each edition. There seems to be among sftdents
of Crowley and his many commentators an unspoken compe-
tition in the art of writing Introductions to his work. Perhaps
surprisingly, the competition is stiff. C,onnoisseurs of this
matter applaud Francis King, commend Stephen Skinner,
appreciate the pithy words of Gerald Yorke, deplore the
nonsense of the Metaphysical Research Group, sigh wearily
ovcr Kenneth Grant and
John
Symonds and cheer for
Regardie. His essays are consistently stimulating. He explains
the nature of the book, informs the reader about the author's
life and ideas, insists upon the value of the work, brings in his
own personal perspective, recommends further reading and
comments sagaciously.
Reconsideration of Crowley inevitably involved reconsider-
ation of The Book of tlu Lazp. The Eye in the Triangle has a
chapter on the matter. Regardie's difficulty lay in accepting
that it was dictated by an independent, praeter-human
intelligence. He accepted, in common with even the most
hostile who have studied the matter, that The Book of tlrc Laat
is not the conscious composition of Aleister Crowley. Given the
nature of Regardie's studies in Psychology, the hypothesis he
advances is both possible and predictable. He argues
-
and
argues well
-
that Aiwass, who dictated the document, is
ultimately the Highest Self of the many selves which made up
Crowley, identical with what the Golden Dawn called 'the
Higher Genius'. Not that this invalidates Thc Book of the Lmt.
In Regardie's view, the Higher Genius within Crowley,
expressing itself through the man's imaginative, intellecnral
and personal involvements, his emotional preoccupations, his
sexual drives and his spiritual concerns, wrote a document of
unique importance for humankind.
Regardie had finally come to realize the essential identity
133
t34 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
between the views of Reich and'Do what thou wilt shall be the
whole of the law.'
'Do what thou wilt' has no meaning other than this ... The
physical organism functions on this basis. Homeostasis is the law
which regulates its activities . . . It has its own inherent laws by means
of which it functions. Psychologically, the same is true. Man has
always had thrust on him moral codes which seek to tell him how he
should behave under this and that or the other circumstance, instead
of helping the living person to function spontaneously. By so doing,
one falls back instinctively on a non-verbal and non-rational code
which has enabled the organism-as-a-whole to survive over millions
of years and evolve into its present state. No arbitrary moral code was
responsible for this. Survival is the integral property of the living
person.
Reich was another advocate of the notion of the self-regulatory
function of the human berng. He claimed that if the infant were not
basically interfered with biologically by having neurotic parentd
standards forcibly imposed*rpon it, it would be able to be wholly self-
determining throughout its entire lifetime. When first introduced to
this idea, most people stand aghast at it - as if any individual would
'go completely to hell' if permitted to express itself freely on an
animal or biological level. I have heard parents say that if they let
junior
select his own foods, for example, they would consist solely of
chocolate bars and pop.At first, this sounds almost as if it could be so
- until one becomes familiar with some basic experimental work (Tle
Eye in the Tiangle).
Regardie proceeds to quote an interesting set of laboratory
experiments. A group of children whose ages ranged from six
months to three years was confronted every feeding time by
trays containing small portions of up to thirty different
foodstuffs. The children who could talk said what they wanted;
those who couldn't speak pointed. If food was reiected, even if
it was spat out, no attempt was made to force or caiole the child
into eating.
Selection, apparently, was made onthe basis of visud and olfactory
interests. At the close of the experiments, after some months, it was
.IT'S
A FI,'NNY OLD WORLD ...'
determined that the selection of foods, so far as concemed basic food
elements such as minerals, vitamins, proteins, etc. would not be other
than would have been prescribed by a nutritional expert. In other
words, the infant selected -
it was not caioled. There was no
imposition of authoritarian dictates - no matter how sound or
reliable. The infant was permitted to select on a spontaneous natural
basis - and it prospered.
It is obvious here that Regardie has resolved another
dilemma: his ultimate attitude to Freud. In common with
Reich, he agreed with Freud that'God' is a name for the sex
instinct, which is the libido and which drives us: in common
r with Crowley, he came to agree that the sex instinct is God.
Therefore he disagreed with Freud's notion that repression is
necessary if there is to be civilization. So did Reich, who
thought that repression is responsible for all the ills of society.
So did Crowley, who declared with Tlu Book of tlu Law that
'The
word of Sin is Restriction'.In Thc Eye in thc Tiangle,
Regardie enthusiastically endorsed Crowley's libertarian sex-
ual attitudes which he supported by citing Reich.
Although his attitude to Crowley grew more positive with
each passing year, it remained tempered by open questioning
and cold criticism. Some portion of his mind returned
repeatedly to attacking the problem of a
iust
evaluation of the
man. I recall asking Regardie: 'Was Crowley kind?' He looked
, quite startled. Then he frowned and pondered the question as
though he'd never thought about it before. Minutes passed.
Finally he stated quietly: 'Yes ... yes ... ys, he was kind.'
These words were uttered in a tone of puzzled surprise.
His return match with a now disembodied Crowley affected
him deeply. It was the last thing he had expected. He had been
.leading a
joyful
and fulfilling life. His income satisfied all
comforts and purchased such luxuries as he desired. He had no
plans to continue as a writer
-
once he had written on Crowley,
he considered that he had finally said all that he had to say
publicly. He could see daily evidence of the success of his art
in the happy faces of the patients he was healing. He was
135
136 CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE
enjoying an active and healthy sex life: and the company of
stimulating, warm and intelligent friends from all walks of life.
He had no intention of embarking on adisciplined programme
of extra work. His income and his reputation were secure.
After all, when Thc Eye in tlu Tiangle first appeared in 1970,
Regardie was sixty-three, an age when most people, to use his
words, are 'fairly well played out ... The Fires of life are
beginning to dim if not go out altogether.'
Instead there followed seventeen years of arduous but
productive labour. He perceived that Crowley's acid critique
of psychoanalysis was accurate: that it was a misguided
restoration, in twentieth-century parlance, of the Christian
doctrine of Original Sin, a concept which Crowley and Reich
and Regardie disgustedly repudiated. Perhaps more impor-
tantly, he sorted out within himself his relationship to Crowley
purely as a writer on Magic. He had long since banished from
his style any mannered endeavour to sound 'learrrcd' or
'educated' -
which had led in his early endeavours to
unnecessarily complex phrasing
-
and agreed with Orwell that
clarity is the key. He had his own wisdom and did not need to
stand on Crowley's shoulders. He discerned and accepted his
own skills and his own limitations. Crowley was always
complaining that his readers failed to understand him and
much of the time he had only himself to blame: Regardie did
not suffer from any such di{Iiculty. Although Crowley's
obscurities tend to be worth the effort of close scrutiny, they
are irritatingly deliberate, as though he were self-consciously
writing for an elite: Regardie took pains to make his matter
clear even to the dullest reader. Students of Magic find that
Crowley gives the most succinct instructions: but one has to
nrrn to Regardie if one wants to know why they are as they are.
Finally, Regardie has his own unique perspective on magical
matters and his introduction of psychology is in the present
writer's view a contribution of lasting importance. In the
course of concluding TIu Eye in the Tiangle Regardie wrote:
Crowley was not merely a man of the world, nor yet a distin-
.IT'S
A FUNNY OLD VORLD ...' t37
guished literary man nor a mystic of considerable attainment.
Against his will, he had been transformed into a Man with a Message
for the whole of mankind.
One cannot resist wondering whether something similar was
happening to Regardie. On the last page of The Eye in the
Tiangle, with seventeen years of life to come, Regardie
summarizes his view of Thc Book of the Law.
It really makes little difference in the long run whether the Book was
dictated by a praeterhuman intelligence named Aiwass or whether it
stemmed from the creative deeps of Aleister Crowley. The Book was
written. And he became the mouthpiece fot the Zeitgeist, accurately
expressing the intrinsic nature of our time as no one else has done to
date. So his failures and excesses and stupidities are simply the hall-
mark of his humanity. ![as he not, by his own admission, the Beast,
whose number is 666, which is the number of Man?
He closes the wbrk by quoting with approval Crowley's
impassioned advocacy of Tlu Book of tfu Laas. In time he
would edit and write a splendid Introduction to it, published as
TIu Law Is For All. T\e very idea of doing this would have
evoked his acerbic disbelief if expressed in, say, 1947. As he
viewed the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties and the changes in
his own being which they brought about, time and time again
he shook his head ruefully, smiled wryly and exclaimed: 'It's a
funny old world...'
THE OCCULT EXPLOSION
pleasurable changes in consciousness. Use of drugs spread to
the more adventurous members of the respectable middle
classes and became popular with the decadent upper class and
disreputable working class. The upshot of the matter is that
people took powerful mind-altering drugs, these threw them
into what were usually blissful or at worst instructive states and
these experiences prompted them to seek for ways of under-
standing what had uanspired. Many turned to Eastern
Religions. Yoga and Zen enjoyed a boom, after which Sufism
was marketed. Some turned to Magic and the occult. There
was a demand for ways which could induce the ecstatic drug
experience without drugs.
All this was accompanied by something which has been
termed'The Permissive Society' or'The Sexual Revolution'.
The latter phrase has beeu misunderstood. The sexual mores
of Westerners changed little. They had sex as much as ever -
only they stopped feeling guilty about the fact. There was also
a return to the tt'aditional custom - which upstart middle-class
and muddled Victorian thinking had for a century interrupted
- of teenage sexual relations. This attitude gave the period a
climate of exciting freedom and an ever-present sense of
expanding boundaries.
In England it seemed as though every maladroit aspect of its
hallowed class system was being gleefully tossed into the refuse
heap. In America there were unprecedented mass protests
against the system of education, the Vietnam War and the
insidiously totalitarian'military-industrial complex' alleged to
run the country to the immense dissatisfaction of its citizens.
In France, the students of Paris brought down Charles De
Gaulle and told a hero it was time he went home. In
Czechoslovakia there was a
joyous repudiation of sullen
tyranny and a collective endeavour to build'socialism with a
human face'ra movement swifdy suppressed by brutal Soviet
military force.
So many individuals sought after ways of transmuting the
human consciousness into the divine state of being to which
certain drugs had introduced them. This quest unfortunately
139
t2
The Occult Explosion
Something strange happened during the 1960s which is still
the subject of examination, analysis and debate. It is not my
purpose here to grapple with a deep, difficult and profoundly
interesting subject but it is necessary to indicate its essentials.
There was in the West a mass movement towards an expansion
-
of consciousness and in quest of evolutionary growth. This
manifested in many ways, some of which were simply silly.
The era was a paradise for posers. It was also a
joy
to be alive
then.
Most Vesterners were better off materially than in the
memory of mankind. There was unprecedented leieure time.
Any able-bodied, comm@-sensical adult could obtain paid
employment which would give him acceptable food and shelter
with enough money left for a few luxuries. There had never
been so many institutions of further education and higher
learning bringing so many youg, intelligbnt and creative
people together.
Many expressed their dissatisfaction with materialism and
looked for something more deeply satisfying to the spirit. The
beatniks - originally of San Francisco but later of New York,
London, Paris, Rome and other American and European cities
- had already professed themselves to be alienated from the
tawdry concerns of the herd and of the sordid struggles for
empty status in the society around them. Their successors, the
hippies, shared this view but advanced it in rather less
intellectual terms. Whereas the beatniks had communed
mainly with'the sweetfumes ofmarijuana, the hippies addedto
this heady intake hallucinogens such as the psyllocybillin
mushroom, mescaline -
the active ingredient of the peyote
cactus - and above all, the chemically manufacnrred substance
LSD-25. Ingestion of these drugs caused profound and largely
140 cRo\rLEY's APPRENTTcE
evoked the publication of far too many worthless books on
various aspects of 'spirituality': but at least some were good and
would probably not have been reprinted without this undis-
criminating demand. Aleister Crowley's books, which were
expensive and as hard to locate as the work of a Russian
dissident, were at last reprinted in cheaper editions. Regardie
experienced the same fate. Both authors gained a growing
reputation with a new generation. Whatever their differences,
there was one essential factor in common. Both of them really
knew what they were writing about.
A new figure appeared on the scene: Dr Timothy Leary.
Leary was a Harvard psychologist who had investigated the
effects of LSD. In the course of this he observed that the
medical uses of the substance included the most effective cure
for alcoholism ever recorded; and the best results yet noted in
the reiuvenation of institutionalized elderly people classified as
'hopeless' and waiting to dig. He noticed too a principat effect
upon an ordinary person: ecstasy and an appetite for meta-
physics: a consequence, it will be remembered, of successful
psychotherapy. This led him to advocate the widespread use of
LSD which he at that time perceived as a universal panacea.
He coined the slogan: Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.
Leary was not actually advocating amodus operandi of drug-
dominated uselessness. 'bop out' does not mean 'Be a lazy
bum'. It meant that one should drop out of taking uivial
matters seriously - such as artificial games of status and the
obsessive and unsatisfying pursuit of new technological toys,
many of them marketed for no more useful purpose than a
display of their owner's socio-economic position. Leary's quest
was for higher consciousness and more rewarding patterns of
human behaviour. He identified the key as berng human
intelligence, a conclusion on which he was in accord with the
Renaissance magi and their Hermetic Wisdom, and he sought
after ways of increasing it. His techniques combined drugs and
mysticism. His The Psychedclic Experimce is a sober yet
stimulating work which advocates the use of The TibetanBook
THE OCCULT EXPLOSION
of the Dead for a profitable structuring of an LSD experience
and it has not yet received its
iust
measure of appreciation.
Unsurprisingly Dr Leary was yet another victim of the
ernotional plague. His opinions were consistently misrepres-
ented to the detriment of his intellectual reputation and his
personal character was vilified. Eventually he was arrested,
charged, found guilty and sentenced to ten years' imprison-
ment, which would include lengthy periods of solitary confine-
ment, for the heinous crime of being found in possession of a
laughably small quantity of mariiuana.
tVhen
he escaped from
prison, the CIA devoted its resources to his recapture, finally
kidnapping him in Algeria so as to retum him to a ma:<imum
security gaol for murderers, rapists and gangsters. Eventudly,
growing and voluble outrage among leading members of the
American intelligentsia procured Leary's release.
Smiling as though his ordeal had not occurred, Leary
returned to public life but with the realization that LSD alone
is not enough. He explored and continues to explore the
potentid within humankind with benefit to all who pay
attention to his data and hypotheses. Curiously enough, he
feels a strong allinity with Crowley. According to Kenneth
' Grant:
Timothy Leary, for example, identifies himself so entirely with the
current initiated by Crowlen and the'coincidences- synchronicities
between my life and his', that he considers one of his aims to be the
completion of the work of preparing the world for cosmic conscious-
ness, which C,rowley had begun (Preface to The Confessions).
Regardie came to know Leary and this contact stimulated
his productivity. At times the extent of his involvement
worried him. He had no desire to suffer as Crowley, Reich and
Leary had suffered: he had surely suffered enough. He
dreaded the attention of the authorities. He tried to avoid the
public eye, he refused invitations to broadcast on the radio or
to appear on television and he endeavoured to minimize what
was in fact a revolutionary position. Nevertheless he felt
t4l
142 cRowr.Ey's AppRENTTcE
sufliciendy moved to pen a strong Introduction to a Crowley
compilation from Thc Equinox, published in one volume as
Roll Away the Stone. This consists of a pharmacological essay
on the properties of cannabis by a noted pharmacist,
E. P. Whineray, who supplied the herb to Crowley in pre-1914
London; Crowley's essay TlrcPsycholog of Haslzrslz; Crowley's
translation of a Baudelaire essay on the subiect; and an
interesting description of the effects of the drug by an obscure
but skilful American writer. Regardie's Introduction encour-
ages the use of mind-expanding drugs for willed magical and
mystical purposes and deplores their undisciplined abuse. The
essay makes the necessary point that Crowley's employment of
drugs was usually aimed at the accomplishment of a specific
goal, and it was not merely fatuous self-indulgence. It
contemplates the hippies, welcomes their presence insofar as
they can make genuine contact with vital energies and age-old
tnrths, sighs briefly over the fact that the hippies orpressed
these truths as though they alone had discovered them and
sternly reiects the notion of Crowley as a Victorian hippie.
Regardie observes that at least two factors sharply distin-
guish Crowley from the hippies. Firstly he was not an advocate
of promiscuous peace to one and dl. He discerned no evidence
that we live in an Age of Peace. To him it seemed only too
obvious that this is the Age of War, of Var's God Horus, as
Tlrc Book of the Laut states. Regardie recognized the fact that
Crowley would have disdained and dismissed the loudly
proclaimed dissolution of all aggressive feelings which the
hippies hypocritically announced.
Secondly, as Regardie emphasizes, Crowley would soon
have lost patience with the hippies' lack of self-discipline. The
all too frequent morass of fine words followed by shabby
actions would have led him to share the contempt of the punks.
Too many hippies did little more than chain-smoke
joints
while sitting in acircle listeningto boring, self-indulgent music
while pontificating between puffs on allegedly profound truths
ofthe body, mind and spirit on whichthey intended to do some
practical work shortly after the middle of the following week
provided they could get it together, man. The movement
syryy degenerated as its origind imperus was weakened by
adulteration. It folded fast in face of tough opposition. Thosl
who prcached peace and love at rallies piofessed to be
astounded and disillusioned when their smilel were answered
by the authorities with the crunch of a police club thrust
through the teeth. Many shocked their nervous systems into
psychosis orpermanent nervous aflliction by taking too much
LSD too often. The most bitterly disillusioned destroyed
themselves with heroin. Today there is no creature sadder tiran
a mild, bemused, burned-out, ageing hippie.
Regardie endorsed Crowley's views on drugs while deplor-
ing the former's addiction to heroin in 1920-6 and 193947.
His Introduction stresses that drugs are
just
tools for the
exploration and enhancement of consciousness. Their use can
be v.ery pleasurable. Each drug should be employed for a
specific purpose and used with intelligence ina will.
fl9reo1e1r
i{ tlie purpose is anything other than purely
hedonistic, the dose and the results should be recorded. Ail
9*gt
ghould be legal for all adults although they are not and
Re-gardie would not advise anyone to break the law: he suggests
offering oneself as a guinea-pig for legal psychological eiperi-
pery4ion as being a way around the problem. Abuse of drugs
is obviously foolish but the harm done can be remedied ifthere
is sulficient will-power and self-discipline. Finally, an intelli-
gent use of chemical substances directed by the will can assist
the evolution of human consciousness when supplemented by
Magical and psychotherapeutic practice.
Although Regardie watched the hippies with initial enthusi-
asm followed by increasingly acid comment, he retained his
detachment. Drugs, after all, were nothing new to him. In the
1950's he had experimented with LSD under controlled
laboratory conditions
-'Thank God !' he exclaimed once again
- and he enjoyed the effects of cannabis. At the age of 76 he
would serve coffee, cognac and power l hash cookies for those
diners at his home who wanted them, including himself. He
told me that he loved to take LSD once a year in solitude and
THE OCCULT EXPLOSION 143
lM cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
gaze with gladness upon the surrounding scenery. 'But I've
never had much use for cocaine. Only tried it a few times and
it did absolutely nothing for me.'
Although mass interest in the occult waned during the 1970s
there was nevertheless a minor but growing demand for good
books on Magic. Regardie responded, as has been noted, with
admirable work for the advancement of Crowley but he had
also established himself as an authority in his own right. His
earlier works were now reprinted with new Introductions
written in the light of experience. He did not expect to be asked
for more.
He answered this unexpected demand by putting together
the foundations of practical Magic inTweloe Steps to Spiitual
E nlig ht enmux, later reprinted as T he O ne Y e ar M anual. This is
an outstanding textbook of sound magical practice. Anyone
who does not master the techniques the author prescribes and
who then attempts more advanced work is asking fof uouble
and attracting disaster. Onetan erect an effective and versatile
modus operattdi on the basis of this book. Regardie also wrote
two excellent practical manuals for the 'Paths to Inner Power'
series of the English Aquarian Press: A Practical Guidc to
Geomantic Diaination and How to Make and' Use Talismans.
The former is precisely what its title proclaims. Geomancy
was Regardie's favourite form of Divination. He had learned it
from the Golden Dawn and he persistently employed it with
rewarding results. The method is of Earth. According to
Regardie, it gives practical answers to practical questions. The
diviner voices the question and concentrates upon it, then
makes lines of dots, either with a stick which prods the sand or
with a pencil which marks the paper. The dots are interpreted
in terms of odd and even numbers which enable one to
construct a series of hieroglyphs which have meaning and
which relate to Astrology, Kabbala and other ways of classify-
ing and evaluating the data of the human psyche. The I-Ching
uses 64 symbols; the Tarot functions in terms of 10 minor and
22 major numbers, making 32 which is half of 64; and
geomancy halves the number again by making use of 16
THE OCCULTEXPLOSION
symbols. The present writer has experimented with geomancy
and although he was never particularly attracted to the
method, it was found useful for the perceptive analysis of
immediate and practical affairs. He has also witnessed Regard-
ie's application of geomancy to questions of this nature and can
attest to the accuracy of the technique when in the hands of a
leading proponent of its worth.
How to Make and Use Talismans might strike the casual
observer as being a candidate for that section of the bookshelf
which one mentally labels 'Cranks' Corner'. In fact, it is a calm,
clear and logical manual. It propounds the view that we can get
what we need and should get what we need if only we go about
it in an appropriate way. The way suggested is that of making
anobiect on which we inscribe words and symbols correspond-
ing to the need in question. These objects are called talismans.
Regardie's manual gives straightforward guidance on how to
go about the matter, suggesrs simplifying and sensible innova-
' tions of technique based upon experience and records, and
advocates two methods of 'charging' the talisman so as to
render it effective: the Middle Pillar technique and the
ceremonial practice taught in the Golden Dawn. Anyone who
wants to know how to make and use talismans cannot afford to
be without the book.
In 1980, the Falcon Press (in the USA) and the Aquarian
Press (in the UK) published Regardie's Ceremonial Magic: A
Guide to the Mechanisms of Ritual. This altogether splendid
work was the solution to a problem which had long perplexed
its author. He had indeed published the Golden Dawn
teachings
- but how were isolated individuals to put these into
practice? It might be possible through repeated use of the
Middle Pillar to initiate oneself as a Neophyre under the
Golden Dawn system. But how could one take this further in
the absence of a chartered initiatory group? Regardie's solution
was akin to that of Crowley: the student must self-initiate. On
the next step, Crowley and Regardie parted company. Crowley
dismissed the Golden Dawn initiations of Zelator (Earth),
Theoricus (Air), Practicus (Water) and Philosophus (Fire) as a
1,45
L46 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
tiresome, long-winded parade of the recondite occult knowl-
edge of Mathers. Regardie thought this inaccurate and unfair.
He perceived magical merit inthese rituals and so heturned his
attention to devising ways in which the student could gather up
their concentrated benefits while working alone.
InCeremonial Magic, Regardie advances for our attention a
ritual of self-initiation which can be adapted to the purposes of
the Golden Dawn initiations between Neophyte and Adeptus
Minor. His Opening by Vatchtower, which draws upon years
of patient experimentation and intimate knowledge of the
advanced Enochian System is set forth simply. All words and
gestures receive clear explanation. It is then revealed that this
recommended ritual is simply the bare bones of the matter,
Flesh and blood pulsate in the First Elaboration, burn in the
Second Elaboration and come to potential orgasmic climax in
the Completed Ritual. Instruction is then given for the
consumption of the Magical Eucharist, which should invigo-
rate the imbiber, and the reader is adeptly advised on
Equipment and Paraphemalia. All this is surely sufficient
-
compared to the paucrty of useful information and plethora of
padding in too many magical textbooks - but in Part Two the
author examines, analyses and eniourages-the use of T&e
Bomless Ritual. This rite came from a 'fragment of a Graeco-
Egyptian work upon Magic, from a papyrus in the British
Museum, edited for the C,ambridge Antiquarian Society, with
a translation by Charles Wycliffe Goodwin, L852'. Although
its use was never specifically advised in the Golden Dawn, it
was circulated among the Adepti. Crowley grew to love it and
to employ it frequently in his own work. Through its use he
finally obtained the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy
Guardian Angel in 1906. In Cefalu 1921, after many years of
experimentation, he wrote his final rescension of the ritual and
a detailed 'scholation' for a disciple, Frank Bennett/Frater
Progradior. lnCeremonial Magic, Regardie brings the matter
more down to earth for the aspirant. He points out the way in
which anyone with sufficient dedication can, through the
Opening by Vatchtower done repeatedly and The Bornless
One done repeatedly, achieve the equivalent of the Golden
Dawn Adeptus Minor Grade, while working in solitude.
-The work contains an additiond delight. In the Appendices
there is a brilliant essay on The Bacchae of Euripides, written
in the mid-1930s, and examining and exhorting its use as a
powerful magical ritual. Other Appendices give two versions
of Tlu Bomless Onc
-
the original and Crowley's adaptation
-
and the rituds of the Pentagram and Hexagram. Regardie
suggesta that the srudenr swirches from the triditional ile*a-
gram of two triangles in various juxtapositions
to the Unicursal
Hexagram, constructed from one continuous line and pio-
neered by Crowley; this suggestion is based on his own work
with both. Ceremonial Magic therefore provides the aspirant
with all the information required for productive years of ritual
practice.
The publication of new books and the reprinting of old ones
brought Regardie very little money. It also brought him the
sort of attention"which he did not welcome. Lunatics pestered
him with mad correspondence. His days often began with
epistolary insults. Sometimes he was provoked into penning
impatient replies and even into making these pubfic. Oni
graceless missive of vulgar abuse was countered with the
words: 'I've been told that you're a snot-nosed kid. Get back to
your mother's tit
- for
just
a little while longer!' In time he
assembled a collection which he called Liber Nuts.I read this in
manuscript, it has to be seen to be believed, and one doesn't
know whether to laugh or to cry over human folly. I am glad to
learn, however, that it is scheduled for publication by Falcon
Press. Occultists are in serious need of comic relief.
It says much for Regardie's sense of humour that he was able
to laugh, albeit ruefully, over two burglaries of his Los Angeles
home. Dishonourable idiots invaded to steal rare works of
Crowley and notable Golden Dawn items. Strangely enough,
he regarded thisupsetting experience as being a karmic penalty
for anything he might have done wrongly in his youth; ar rhe
same time, these events influenced his decision to leave Los
Angeles in 1981.
THE OCCULTEXPLOSION t47
148 cRovLEY's APPRENTIcE
He had discharged his duty to Crowley. He had given all he
could give as a practical instructor. He had done his will and his
work as a healer. Surely nothing more remained? Surely he
was now entitled to a cushy retirement? To his occasional
annoyance and continuous perplexity there remained one
further and horribly demanding obligation.
The Golden Dawn.
t3
Light in Extension
The Goldm Daatn was reprinted and kept in print during the
1970s. This time it sold quite briskly, despite its high price. It
continued to inspire individuals to take up the Great Work and
in some cases to correspond with the editor. He turned in his
chiropracter's licence in 1981 at the age of seventy-four and
moved to a luxurious home in the beautiful artists' colony
of Sedona, Arizona. There, in the words of his friend
Dr Christopher Hyatt: 'Until recendy he has lived in relative
seclusion spending his time writing and reluring. On occasion
he travels and entertains guests at his home.'r
He made friendly contact with Dr Robert Anton lUilson,
author of The"Cosrnic Tigger, Prometluus Rising and other
outstanding works of consciousness expansion. Regardie called
him' a mindbloaser'
;
and.Wilson wrote a notable Introduction to
the 3rd edition of Tlrc Eye in the Tiangle, which he praised as
'a masterpiece of exposition'. Other friends included psychol-
ogists, magicians, artists, writers, a Zen Master and a gangster.
Another notable was US Atmy Maior Grady McMurtry, who
had been a disciple of Crowley in the 1940s. Crowley had given
McMurtry'Caliphate'powers for the Ordo Templi Orientis
(OTO): that is to say, in the event of the OTO being in danger
of withering and dying, McMurtry was entitled to lead a
revival as 'Caliph'. When it seemed as though this eventuality
had come to pass, McMurtry contacted Regardie and Gerald
Yorke -
whom he perceived as 'The Eyes of Horus' and
guardians of Crowleyrs legacy
-
and asked for their approval of
his action in activating the powers of the Caliphate: both gave
their approval. Maior McMurtry then spearheaded an OTO
revival from his base in Berkeley, California, conducted the
alfairs of the C.aliphate OTO to the satisfaction of its members
and died in 1985, leaving behind him a growing and fruidul
150 CROITLEY'S APPRENTICE
organization which has recently been granted recognition as
the OTO in a US Federal court.
Regardie never
joined
the OTO, though he wished it well
and enfoyed warm and friendly relations with McMurtry, who
gave him many presents of rare Crowley books, inscribed with
respect and affection. C,ontrary to opinions one has often heard
expressed, McMurtry and the Caliphate OTO did not con-
demn the Golden Dawn on account of the sentence in
The Book of the Law:'Behold! the rituals of the old time are
black.' The Caliph argued in The Magical Link' the OTO
journal, that the words apply to Christianity and Magic based
on Christian formulae. As long as the point of view was not
anti-Thelemic, McMurtry welcomed work at the Golden
Dawn system and viewed any development of it as a function-
ing Order with benevolence.
Regardie's relationship with Gerald Yorke now moved from
their former 'distant-friendly' chats to distant-friendly corres-
pondence. Yorke had also repudiated Crowley as a Master and
World Teacher though he had remained his lifelong friend and
guardian of his papers: his own quest had led him to embrace
Tibetan Buddhism and he had become the Dalai Lama's
Representative in the West. This led him to stress the
efficaciousness of the Tibetan Buddhist way and deplore
that of the Golden Dawn in a lacklusue Introduction to
Ellic Howe's The Magicians of the Goldm Dawm. Regardie
wrote to Yorke recording his firm disagreement with the
latter's views and warning him that in the review of Howe's
book which he was writing, he would attack him: Yorke
responded by quoting The Book of the Laa4 'As brothers fight
ye!'
By the end of the 1970s, it appeared as though the only
groups working as Golden Dawn Orders were located in New
Zealandand in Georgia, USA. However in 1981 Regardie was
approachedby a woman he hadknown for someyears andwho
had persuaded him to give her magical instruction. She
proposed the establishment of a Golden Dawn Temple in Los
Angeles. Initially, Regardie gave her very liale encourage-
LIGI{T IN EXTENSION l5l
ment. His experience of group working had left him feeling
disillusioned and he preferred to extol the virnres of private
individual practice. Finally, he reluctantly acceded to her
request to act as consultant in case of difficulty.
The Temple was duly set up by three people whom we shall
call Ms B. -
its moving spirit -
Ms
J.
and Mr Y., and one
cannot doubt their sincerlty in endeavouring to work the
Golden Dawn system in a formal context. Nor can one doubt
their dedication to Magic or their skills. The Temple attracted
a variety of individuals from all manner of socio-economic
backgrounds and charged a subscription of
iust
five dollars a
month. It followed Regardie in insisting that its members
undergo some form of psychotherapy. During the period that
the present writer was an active member, no grandiose claims
were made and the Order was run efficiently and well.
I was present on one occasion when Ms B. came to Regardie
for somi advice. She alleged that two members had been
talking to her about something called Morality and the Magical
Path and suggesting that moralguidelines be given to members
for the conduct of their private lives. Regardie was horrified.
'No!' he snapped. 'Out of the question! Tell those people
they're idiots.' And he quoted MacGregor Mathers: 'What
I
disiountenance and will check and punish wherever I find it in
the Order is the attempt to criticise and interfere with the
private life of Members of the Order . . . The private life of a
person is a matter between himself and herself and his or her
God ...'
The LA Temple flourished for a time before su{fering the
fate which strikes so many magical organizations: personality
clashes. Ms
J.
and Mr Y. withdrew, as did a numbers of others,
and in time they founded their own Temple. Ms B. continued
with her adherents, and forged a link with the Temple in
Atlanta, Georgia, in addition to two which sprang into
existence in Las Vegas, Nevada and San Diego, C,alifornia.
Both Los Angeles Temples made contact with New T,realand.
Nor was England immune from the Golden Dawn revival.
Two Temples at least have been going well since 1985; a third
152 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
has recendy been established in London; and there may be
others quietly pursuing their work.
The magical revival of the 1980's meant, among other
things, that Regardie received letters from all over the world
and he always endeavoured to answer them. Some of this
correspondence was rewarding; and as we have noticed, some
was definitely not. There was also his devotion to his own
magical practices. This led to an interior revelation which has
been described by Christopher Hyatt:
!?hile in an exalted state he once experienced an array ofreligious
insists which encompassed him, finally bringing him to a state of
exhilaration and collapse where the only thing left in his mind was the
following, 'not Christianity, not Buddhism, not Paganism, not
anything but the Golden Dmtn, the System which encompasses all.'
I was present when he experienced this revelation and can clearly
testify to its intensity and meaning.2
It was perhaps on account of this insight that Regardie went
to work in his seventies on preparing a new edition of The
G olden D awn for publication by Hyatt's Falcon Press. It wasn't
a question of any money which might accrue to Regardie: it
will be remembered that he had long ago signed away any and
all rights to financial gain. To his mind it was a question of
honourable obligation. The teachings of the Golden Dawn had
become the spine of his interior life. The number of Golden
Dawn Temples was growing slowly but steadily; there was
evidence of a genuine revival which would be corroborated
within a few years. Christopher Hyatt was convinced that'the
number of unaffiliated devotees of the Golden Dawn probably
runs into the hundreds of thousands'.3 Even if the figure is far
too optimistic, there was nevertheless a growing demand and
therefore a growing sale of good books on Magic. Regardie
therefore felt inwardly compelled to devote his old age to
making available all Golden Dawn material at his disposal and
to which he had access and commenting with all the wisdom he
LIGHT IN EXTENSION
had gained in the light of forty yearsn
edification of posterity.
r53
experience for the
He often found the work arduous, tiring and irksome. 'I'm
hoping -
almost against hope - that some of my drive may
return to force me to get back to the
job
of re-writing the
Golden Dawn,' he wrote to me on 2l
January
1982. The
Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic finally appeared in late
1984. It is a massive tome of more than one thousand pages. 'I
am glad you got the new Golden Dawnr' Regardie remarked in
his letter to me of 13 November 1984, for he had very kindly
sent me a copy; 'It is an immense volume, valuable as a good
door stop.' In faa, Regardie had every reason to be proud of
his achievement. The work is the definitive, harmonious
synthesis of Magical Classicism. It is the foundation stone of
sound technique. Regardie's psychological insights and expe-
rienced advice are invaluable to the student. A further notable
factor is the last volume on Enochian Magic.
This, it may b6 remembered, is the ultimate synthesis of all
that has gone before and to which the Adeptswere introduced.
However, the Inner Order curriculumdemands so muchwork
that very few Adepts even reached the stage of elementary
grappling with the Enochian System until Crowley turned his
attention to the matter and explored the Thirty Aethyrs as
recorded in The Vision and the Voice. Although this has yet to
be surpassed, much work on the Enochian system was
subsequently done by Regardie.The Enochian system, a! we-
have nbted, derives from the sixteenth-century angel magic of
Dr
john Dee and Edward Kelley. Here is the essence of the
matter:
In a way which is still not quite clear, Dee and Kelley
obtained 100 squares filled with letters and usually num-
bering 49
x
49.
Dee would have one or more of these squares before him.
Kelley sat at the Holy Table made according to angelic
instruction and gazed at the shewstone, after a time seeing
2
3
154 cRowr,Ey's AppRENTTcE
an angel who would point with a rod to letters in succession
on one ofthese charts.
4 Kelley would report, for instance:
,He
points to column 5,
mt*.23r'apparently not mentioning the letter, which Dee
found and wrote down from the square before him.
5 This implies that Kelley had absolutely no idea which
words would be formed. To execute that feat, the man
commonly denounced as a confidence trickster would have
to have known the exact positions of the 2,401 letters in
each of the tables. There must be an easier way of getting
a living.
6 Angels dictated the words backwards, warning that unde-
sired forces could be evoked by pronouncinlg them the
right way.
7 Dee and Kelley rewrote the words forwards and the result
was the Enochian Keys or Calls.
8 There are nineteen. The first two conjure the*Element
called Spirit; the next sixreen invoke the Four Elements,
each sub-divided into four; and the nineteenth, by chang-
ing two names, can be used to invoke any one of fnirty
'Aethyrs', 'Aires', or dimensions of existence.
9 The language in which these Keys are written possesses a
vocabulary, grammar and syntax of its own.
10 All of which leaves sceptics and subjectivists with a genuine
and interesting intellectual problem:
(a) 'Enochian' bears virnrally no relation to any known
language;
(b) Yet philologists agree that it is impossible for a human
peing to invent a new language independently of
known languages.
There are other issues too. The beauty of the Enochian keys
i1 apparent in English translation. As Crowley writes in Ttrc
Confessions:
to
cgndeml Kelley as a cheating charlatan
- the accepted view - is
simply stupid. If he invented Enochian and compose-d this superb
Lrcr{T rN ExrENsroN 155
prose, he was at worst a Chatterton with fifty times that poet's
ingenuity and five hundred times his poetical genius ... The
genuineness of these Keys is guaranteed by the fact that anyone with
the smdlest capacity for Magick finds that they work.
The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic contains a laudable
essay by Dr Thomas Head which states: 'the most substantial
and convincing proof of the essential genuinmess of both Dee and
Kelley is tlrcir monurnmtal ignorance of what to do with the
mateial they haae accumulated.'
This was a favourite point of Regardie. In his view, it was the
work of Mathers that was responsible for transforming the
essence of a great mass of raw materid into a practical system.
This was the form in which Regardie himself pursued his
researches. His practical experimentation enabled him to
incorporate Enochian formulae in the rituals of self-initiation
he called Opening by Watchtower, one of his major contribu-
tions to the science and art of Magic. He investigated the
pronunciation and vocabulary of Enochian. He became one of
the very few individuals who can play a complex game which
summarizes one's understanding of the Golden Dawn system,
Enochian Chess.
In his footnotes to Regardie's 1938 Introduction To The
Enochian System, reprinted by Llewellyn Publications in their
5th edition of The Goldm Daun, Hal Sundt takes Regardie to
task:
Israel Regardie was a member of Hermese
[src]
Lodge for only a brief
time in the 1930's, his main magical tutelage being with Crowley
yearc pior to his admission to the G.D. The Hermes Lodge .:. waS
a third generation G.D. temple which likely never inherited much of
the oral materials and private papers of the original Mathers-Farr-
Yeats Golden Dawn ... (Unfornrnately, it is also mis-information
and no credit to the late Israel Regardie). First, the original system of
Dee and Kelley was vastly more sophisticated than even the Golden
Dawn version, but it had not been pulled together at this time, so
Regardie had insufficient materials at hand to form his
iudgement.
Second, the Golden Dawn reduces all occult symbology to an
156 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
'Elemental Bias', and then combines elemental attributions quite
mechanically to constitute everything into what they took of the Dee
System. This is ztalid and powerfull'for Dee', or 'for Mathers' to the
discredit of the other really understand neither ... Unfornrnately,
Israel Regardie overlooked Spiits and Appaitions, Dee's published
journals where pronunciation keys are given. Regardie's rendering of
the Calls blurs pronunciation aids and Enochian spellings' a
misguidance he inherited.
One can agree with Mr Sundt that there is much raw
material left to us by Dee and Kelley which was not
incorporated into the Golden Dawn system. Otherwise one is
puzzled by a number of his statements. Firstly, although
Regardie was indeed only a member of the Stella Matutina for
a relatively short time, his studies and magical work enabled
himto climbthe Grades quicklyto Adeptus Minor and so have
access to all relevant documents. Secondly, his main practical
magical tutelage wasn't with Crowley at all and we hive noted
his immense disappointmeht at the fact: Regardie -
and this
fact is of vital importance to all aspirants -
was fundamentally
self-educated; or perhaps we should say self-taught. Thirdly,
Mr Sundt states that the Hermes Lodge'likely never inherited
much of the oral materials and private papers' of the original
Golden Dawn. To which oral materials and private papers is
Mr Sundt referring? One wishes that he could produce at least
some scrap of evidence to support his contention. Instead he
only offers the word'likely'.
Fourthly, the'mis-information'to which Mr Sundt refers is
contained in the following words of Regardie:
!0hoever was responsible for the Order scheme of the Angelic
Tablets - whether it was Mathers and Westcott or the German
Rosicrucian Adepts from whom the former are supposed to have
obtained their knowledge - was possessed of an ingenuity and an
understanding of Magrc such as never was in the possession of Dee
of Kelley.
Mr Sundt states baldly that the original Dee-Kelley system
LIGHT IN ExrENsIoN 157
was 'vastly more sophisticated than even the Golden Dawn
version'but offers nothing to support his view' One learns with
some surprise that this allegedly vastly sophisticated system of
Dee and Kelley 'had not been pulled together at this time'
which implies that at a later time, some individualresearcheror
group did indeed pull the matter together: but Mr Sundt
iesponds to one's natural sense of enquiry by keeping the
reader wholly in the dark.
Fifthly, we are informed that'the Golden Dawn reduces dl
occult symbology to an'Elemental Bias': one wonders where
the 'bias' enters into the matter. The Golden Dawn simply
went with the ancient magical tradition which affirms that all
phenomena can be classified under the schema known as'the
Elements': to call that'bias' is like insisting that chemists are
'biased' in their use of the Periodic Table. Obviously this work
of classification is done, to use Mr Sundt's words, 'quite
mechanically':
lrow
else would one do it?
There follows a bizarre statement made by Mr Sundt:
This is aalid and pm:e{ul! 'for Dee' or 'for Mathers' to the
discredit of the other really understand neither.
What is Mr Sundt trying to tell us here? Lack of basic
grammar interferes with meaning and any consequent weigh-
ing of his words.
u7hy
the inverted commas?
\U7hat
extra
meaning do they possess? Perhaps Mr Sundt is attempting to
tell us that ... It is really very hard to extract any logical
meaning.
Tentatively I suggest the following translation, all the while
painfully conscious that the meaning intended by Mr Sundt
may be suffering a gross injustice. Apparently Dee and
Mathers did themselves discredit by not understanding the
Enochian System but despite this, it remained 'aalid
attd
powerful!'for them. This begs two questions: (a) Is Mr Sundt
ctaiming that he understands the Enochian System far better
than Dee and Mathers -
and Regardie? - and if so, how so and
where is his evidence? And (b) Does Mr Sundt genuinely
158 cRor?LEY's APPRENTTcE
believe that one can misunderstand a magical system yet
despite this it nevertheless remains 'oalid and powerful!' for
oneselP I think we should be told.
In the seventh instance, Mr Sundt cites Dee's published
journals
which he terms Spiits and Apparitlozs. Despite the
many months of arduous research the present writer undertook
at the British Library in the course of editing, introducing and
commenting upon
John
Dee: Essential Readings (1986), he is
not familiar with any such title. Possibly Mr Sundt is citing an
American title of the work: A True & Faithful Relation of what
passedfor many years Betwem Dr.
John
Dee . . . and Some Spiits,
edited by Meric Casaubon, published London 1659 and
reprinted London 1976: but this was a text with which
Regardie was perfectly familiar.
Finally, Regardie is criticized for his inherited misguidance
regarding his poor spelling and pronunciation. He was of
course guided in these matters by Crowley and the dolden
Dawn/Stella Matutina: and inore importantly, by years of
experimentation in an endeavour to discover what worked.
One would like to know where Mr Sundt obtained his true
guidance and also his record of practical experimentation
before one can take his unsupported assertions with any degree
of serious consideration.
I apologize for what may have struck some as being a
superfluous digression. Such was not the intention. It is surely
gemume to stress that Regardie knew precisely what he was
writing about. His claims were modest. Here and there he may
well have been mistaken and he freely admined that possibil-
ity. Unfornrnately, the same cannot be said for commentators
such as Mr Sundt, who is clearly capable of making so many
errors and begging so many questions in so very few ill-chosen
words. One wishes that Mr Sundt had exercised more thought
and care in his vainglorious phrases and that his publishers had
inspected them more closely. As the matter stands, it serves to
remind the student that in the reading of any magical treatise
and as Regardie was fond of quoting, the old adage that: 'The
First Virnre on the Path is Discrimination.'
LrcHT rN ExrENSroN 159
Volume l0 of Tlrc Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic
contains the Enochian System, skilled comment by working
colleagues, the fruits of Regardie's own labours and his
Enochian-English,/English-Enochian dictionary. A beautiful,
noble and eflicacious system is at the disposal of those who
want all of it and those who want some of it. All sflrdents owe
to Regardie a great debt of gratitude, both for his early courage
in breaking his oath of secrecy to a moribund collection of self-
important loafers and for his later persistence in revising the
material as a gift to the strange, wild and allegedly dangerous,
who are the major hope of human evolution. The words of the
Introduction he had written in his youth remain valid today:
It is for this reason that I hold that the Golden Dawn magic, the
technique of initiation, is of supreme and inestimable importance to
mankind at large. In it the work of academic psychology may find a
logical conclusion and fruition, so that it may develop its own
particular contribution to modern life and culture. For this psycho-
magical technique of ceremonial initiation indicates the solution of
the 'anima'
problem.
'Arise! Shine! For thy light is come!'
Notes
I
Christopher Hyatt, Forewordto lVhat You Should Knmo about tfu Goldnt
Dazon.
2
Ibid.
3
lbid.
a
Crrtain criticisms can be made. For example, the instructions for the
performance of the Rose-Cross Ritual are turgid and unclear. One wishes
that Regardie had revised or rewritten this early manuscript. But this is a
minor blemish on a masterpiece.
The original The Golden Doum has also been reprinted recently ( 1986) by
Llewellyn Publications.
t4
The Sage of Sedona
'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.'
It was with these words that Dr Francis Israel Regardie
stepped over the threshold of my Vest Hollywood apartment
in autumn 1981. I had not seen him for nine years. It had been
fifteen years since our initial contact.
I first encountered Regardie in 1966 at the age of fifteen
through buying and reading one of his books. I was motivated
then and still am now by a quest for Truth which had taken and
would take many forms. In the course of this search I
discovered that there was a non-sectarian, pre-Cfrristian,
Western mystical tradition.*It was called Magic. There was
only one problem: how to do it. The maiority of authors on the
subiect either had no practical experience whatsoever; or else
they eked out a linle knowledge with dark hints about
forbidden secrets and information on meditation which could
be found in dozens of similar volumes, frequently adding insult
to iniury by heaoring one in tones which recalled a minor
public school
iunior
housemaster. It was therefore a relief to
come uponthe works of Aleister Crowley and to discover, after
thorough research, that his evil legend was a mish-mash of lies,
ignorance and malicious vilification. Here and at last was the
red thing. I tried some of the practices he recommended and
was pleased with the results. It was a relief too to meet
Regardie in print. C-ommon sense and clarity abounded in his
writings. A week after buying one of his books, I bought two
more. I staned to work at the exercises he recommended and
was delighted by the effects.
At this time I had absolutely no idea that there existed even
the slightest connection between Regardie and Crowley. If one
wanted Crowley's books, one had to go out and hunt for them
in obscure specialist bookshops, often enduring wary glances,
THESAGEoFSEDoNA 161
pitying looks and the odd dire warning from the booksellers.
Regardie's works were much more readily available and even
advertised in enthusiastically written leaflets issued by a
respected book service of that time. People seemed to think
that Crowley's works were dangerous, that he was so evil he
had booby-trapped the rituals, that too much Crowley would
drive one insane. Regardie, it appeared, was kosher. The
Doctor was good for you. You were in safe hands there. I
picnrred Regardie as an elderly, learned and stern but
benevolent
Iewish
Pauiarch.
It was therefore astonishing to discover that this man had
been secretary to The Beast 666 and had written a book about
him, shortly to be published as The Eye in tlrc Triangle. I sent
a cheque in immediately and received the book about eighteen
months later. I remember how excited I was when it finally
arrived, preceded by many apologies for the publisher's delay
from the book
"service.
Here was one author whom I really
respected writing on another whom I loved. I was deeply
dissatisfied with all the works on Crowley I had scrutinized
and had resolved to write the best one myself: an easy task in
view of the competition then in being. Had Regardie wrinen so
iudiciously,
wisely and well as to render any subsequent efforts
completely redundant?
I thought that the work was magnificent, though some
questions still remained and their study prompted me to write
to Dr Regardie care of his publishers. My letter praised his
book warmly but raised a number of points to which he replied
on 8 November 1971.
I am happy to hear you are going to work on a book about Crowley
[he
wrote]. A writer visited rne ten days ago, and will be in England
next Spring to visit Gerald Yorke, and she too is at work on a book
about Crowley, the man ... not the magician. The more the merrier.
He defended his decision to stop at 1914 with The Eye,
answered queries on Sex Magick and the Devil, stated his
criticisms of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan and gave all the
162 cRo,wt-Ey's AppRENTTcE
information for which I'd asked on the fates of various
individuals who had known Crowley. I'd enquired after a
rumour spread about The Beast by the thriller writer Dennis
Wheatley in To tlu Dnil
-
a Daughter,thathe had invoked Pan
in Paris during the 1920s and it had sent him insane for six
months. Suddenly Regardie's scholarly rone slipped
delightfully:
I think Dennis Wheatley is nuts! That is not good psychology,
philosophy nor anything else but expresses what I feel about his
brand of nonsense.
Rewarding correspondence continued until summer l9Z2
when I was visiting California and Regardie invited me ro
come and see him. I was so keen not to be late that I arrived in
his sueet an hour before the appointed time and had to park the
car round the corner and walk impatiently up and down side-
roads. I really didn't know what he'd be like in person, I
wanted to make a good impression and I felt shy. Eventually I
decided to do the Middle Pillar as I walked ...
'Jesus, I had no idea you were so
Youlrgr'
he said as his door
opened to me. He was a shorr, spry, balding man of slight build
but obvious vigour. 'Well, come in and have a drink 'he added
cheerfully, ushering me through a spacious, tastefully fur-
nished and very comfortable house to his private bar. He
walked with a spring and a bounce in his step. I asked for a
whisky and he gave me a large one. 'Bet you can't have that in
England,' he remarked
iovially.
Vhen I told him I'd been
enjoying whisky since the age of fifteen, he looked momentar-
ily thoughtful and said: 'God, the place must've changed.'
He took me out to an excellent local steak-house and
enteftained me royally. He seemed much more interested in
my words than in his, and I was nervous and appreciative of his
attention. He was a charming dinner companion and he put me
at my ease. Yes, of course Magic works and no, he couldn't
stand cranks. 'For instancer' he said, in a unique tenor which
mingled the accents of Mile End with those of the West Cnast,
t63
lI
had a man ring me up the other day. Rang me from
Manchester, reversed the charges if you please. He told me he
was being magically attacked. Can you believe it? Oh, and a
whole cock-and-bull story followed that. The man didn't
realize that you can'tbe magically attacked unless yorrwant to
be magically attacked. The people who didn't like what I did in
England during the Thirties
-
Inepti I call them
- rhrew so
many curses at me, I could've papered my walls with them;
that was about all they were good for. Magically anacked
-
schmagically attacked
- bah!
- I got no usi forlhat kind of
adolescent gripe-water.'
He listened to my aspirations spiritual and material and
offered sagacious advice. No, he definitely didn't recommend
becoming_an author unless I didn't mind being broke most of
the time. Common sense urged that I should have a profession
or trade so that whatever else I did, there'd always be a roof
over my_head, a bed to lie on and food to fill my belly.
,Any
money- I ever earned from my books couldn't keep anyonL
Bping
for
!ong.
These days anything I get is
just
the frbsting on
the cake, financially speakingr'he observed. 'What writer can
get a good living out of books?'
He affirmed certain truths of Magic and Mysticism, being
so sensible and articulate about it all that I asked him why he
didn't make efforts to publicize his message on the mass media.
'God forbid!'he exclaimed. 'The authorities would be down
on me like a ton of bricks. Look what's happened to Timothy
!."ty.'
Leary had only
iust
been sentenced to ten years'
imprisonment for possessing a tiny quantity of marijuana.
,No,
no, I much prefer to steer well clear of the public eye.' He gave
me names and addresses of correspondents in England who
might prove helpful to me. A few years later, after Cambridge
University and through circuitous routes, I would meet them
all. Regardie and I parted that night with much expression of
goodwill on either side. Afterwards I wrote him a thank you
letter.
Although we had spoken much about Crowley, he seemed to
think I was much too young to write on the subiect. Here he
THE SAGE OF SEDONA
164 cRowLEY's APPRENTICE
was right, for my Legacy of the Beast wasn't written until
1986-7. I had the uncomfortable impression that I hadn't
struck him as being anything more than a polite, well-
intentioned and academically gifted kid. Here I was right, for
as he wrote to me ten years later: 'I met you all those years ago.
Nice, but not mind-blowing.' Moreover, he had somehow
given me the impression that much as he revered the truths of
Idagic, its practice was part of his past, which disappointed me.
Here I was wrong. As he would tell me years later, he
deliberately gave that impression to everyone he met for the
first time and to many for years afterwards. In any event, much
as I had liked him and been thrilled to meet him, I did not
pursue our correspondence and nor did he.
Years passed and with them many vicissitudes of fortune. In
spring 1981, my then wife Ann and I went to live in West
Hollywood, Los Angeles. There I learned that Regardie had
recently moved to Sedona. I wanted to contact hirfi again.
Beginning my lener: 'Althoulh you probably don't remember
me . . .' I sent him one of my books in gratitude for his kindness
allthose years ago and in appreciation of his own works, which
had done so much for me. He replied that of course he
remembered me and many thanks for the book. He still visited
LA sometimes ... we wrote and invited him to lunch, which is
how he came to be proclaiming the Law of Thelema in our
apartment.
The occasion was a delight. At seventy-four, his vim and
vigour put many young men to shame. He thought nothing of
the ten-hour drive from Arizona to the West Coast through the
Mojave desert. He was full of praise for our choice of
restaurant, my books and life generally. Yet there was no talk
of Magic. Instead we discussed psychology and psychoanaly-
sis. At the end of the lunch he invited us for a weekend at his
home some time. It took a while to finalize the details. His
third marriage was breaking up, though we knew nothing of
that at the time. Then hevisited England for a friend's party at
the Savoy. He may have enioyed the occasion but he did not
enjoy the rest of his time in the country of his birth, ringing me
THESAGEoFsEDoNA 165
up on his return to exclaim: 'Terrible! Miserable! It's as bad as
ever!'
'Don't mind me, I'm
just
a funny old manr' he informed us
on our eventual arrival at his home. Then: 'You must be thirsty
after your long drive. Vould you like
juice?
Or would you
prefer Christians?' His house, which looked out onto great red
rocks and breathtaking canyons, consisted of two self-
contained storeys. The upper floor was luxuriously furnished
in the Westem American style and adorned by strange and
exquisite paintings and ornaments. The lower floor, where he
slept and worked was book-lined and spacious and spartan.
'I had it built like this because I got married for the third
time when I left Los Angelesr' he told us. 'You know, for
fourteen years before we were married, we had a wonderful
relationship. Probably it was because we didn't live together. I
bought her an apartment. We used to spend every weekend
together and once a week I'd take her out to dinner. So when
we came here, I thought it'd work out if we had two totally self-
contained spaces, different front doors, even. Well, we
should've had at least a street between us.' A smile that was
rueful and also regredul. 'The marriage lasted
iust
eight
months before she left.'
On the first night, he took us out to the best restaurant in
town and gave extra entertainment by correctly guessing the
astrological Sun Sign of ourselves, the manager, the waitesses
and a number of other diners who had overheard and asked to
be included. Later Ann spoke about a neck problem which had
given her pain for many years, despite various treatments, and
he put it right within a minute that very night.
Over the weekend he was a marvellous host, cooking with
aplomb, playing Mozart's symphonies and spouting snatches
of Romantic poetry. However, he did not share our taste for
rock. 'Elvis Presley stufP No way. D'you call that music?' His
love of animds was evident in his devotion to his cat Leda; he
said that some years before, he had bred English bulldogs.
Magrc was discussed only when I brought it up, and that was
166 cRorwLEY's APPRENTTcE
to explain that I hadn't done any in quite a while and to voice
my disgust at the common run of occultists.
'Times haven't changedr' he shrugged. 'Well, I don't
suppose it maners that you haven't done much lately.
Sometimes there's
just
a period of lying fallow.'The subject of
talismans came up. It will be remembered that these are
objects which the Magician makes for the accomplishment of
a specific aim and then charges by meditative (Middle Pillar)
or ceremonial methods. If the obiective is aaained within
seven days, the Magician claims that the talisman had worked.
'It's different when it comes to money, thoughr' I said.
'How d'you mean?'the old man queried.
'Vell, every Magician with whom I've ever spoken says the
same thing and it's true too in my own experience, that if the
talisman is properly charged, you get
iust
enough ro avert
disaster and tide you over and not one penny more.'
'C,an't sgrer' he responded flatly. 'Then you and ewrybody
else must be doing something wrong.'And he related the tale
of one of his talismans. 'Back in LA when I was in practice, I
was doing quite well, earning on average around eighty
thousand dollars a year. Trouble was.that I spent it all as fast
as I earned it. I'd more or less resigned myself to having to
work until I kicked the bucket, except that I was gening older
and finding it all a bit tiring. So I made a talisman for a great
sum.
'![ithin a week, one of my patients whose reatment was
ending made me a curious offer out of the blue. He said that I'd
done a lot for him and now he wanted to do his bit for me. He
was a successful investment consultant and he suggested that I
placed any savings I had with him for a market killing that was
coming. Well, I did that, and I must admit I had grave doubts
about the wisdom of that action because whenever I'd done
anything like it in the past, I'd always lost money and I'm
probably the world's worst investor. Anyway, my friend put all
my money into silver
iust
before the Hunt family tried to
corner the market. The result was that I could cash in my chips
and retire out here.'
THESAGEoFSEDoNA 167
tVe
argued about the origins of the Golden Dawn. At that
time, I accepted Ellic Howe's proof that the Order was indeed
founded on a fraud by Dr Westcon: but I didn't think it
mattered; it was the techniques which were all-important.
Regardie was convinced that no fraud had been commined and
that the Order had the origin it claimed
-
which was
C.ontinentd and Rosicrucian. He produced in evidence a
photograph of Westcott, aptly described by Ithell C-olqhoun as
'a darling old pussy cat of a man'. 'Does he look to you like the
sort of man who would commit fraud?' Regardie demanded.
'They never dor'Ann replied. Argument had to become more
scholarly and did. Regardie urged that I srudy the matter in
greater depth and invited me to conribute an essay on the
matter to the forthcoming edition of lVhat You Should Know
about tlrc Golden Daan.It would be written and published as
Suster's Ans;er to Hoan.
From that tilne onward, I was in regular contact with
Regardie, in person, via correspondence and on the phone. I
returned to his home. His energy remained remarkable for a
man his age. After a six-hour round uip by car to and from
Phoenix Airpon to pick me upr all he needed was the sixty-
minute nap he took from five till six every day. Then he'd
wander into the kitchen, make himself one of the two cocktails
with which he began his evenings
- there'd be nothing more
later except the occasional glass of wine with dinner - and he'd
exclaim heartily: 'Thank God for booze!' His mind was
continually active and alert. Occasionally he would forget a
name or a date, which would infuriate him. He'd slap his-face
and exclaim irritably: 'God damn you, Regardie, you're going
senile!' Nothing could have been further from the truth.
His infectious good humour affected everyone around him.
Even when his frequent jokes
weren't that fu*y, they were
told with such gusto that one still laughed anyway. A steady
stream of visitors came and went. It was good to see that even
at his advanced age, his amorous activities continuedunabated.
One thinks too of the married woman who had been a parienr
of his a few years ago and who rang him from LA in terror of
168 cRowLEY's APPRENTTcE
an impending nervous breakdown: her husband had left her
and she had no money. The old man paid for her trip to stay a
couple of days with him for treatrnent, which was free of charge
and an unprecedented event in the American medicd profes-
sion. When she arrived, she'd looked fit for suicide in a parking
lot but she left smiling and visibly determined. 'Hope to God
I've done something for herr' Regardie muttered.
His charming daily help could not accept that since he was
Doctor Regardie and since he was known to heal people, he
was nevertheless not a medical doctor. She kept asking for his
advice and remedies for all her ailments and those of her
family. It was no use Regardie telling her that he was not a
doctor. As far as she was concemed, he was Doctor Regardie
and so he must know best. In time, Regardie realized that it
couldn't be helped and so prescribed his unique remedies for
colds, flu and sinus infection, sore throats, coughs, indigestion
and other common ills, invariably recommended products
which couldbe bought without aprescription inany drug store
but adding some special process which sounded miraculously
scientific to the less lenered ear. 'You see, Mrs Xr'he'd declare
wisely, 'I've always been a great believer in old
fashioned
remedies'. Instantly Mrs X would look safe and secure. 'The
old
fashioned
ones are the best in my experience, believe me.
Now: what I'm recommending strongly for your mother's
problem is aspirin. Good, plain, old-fashioned aspirin. And
you take it with hot blackcurrant
juice. BUT there is one
absolutely oital pointwhere far too many people go wrong. The
hot water you pour on the blackcurrant
juice
concentratemust
not be boiling. All right? At no time wr it be allowed to boil.
Very important. You know what happens if you pour boiling
water on the blackcurrant
juice?
Ruins it. It kills the Vitamin
C.' It remains only to be added that the lady in question
thought that Regardie was a wonderful doctor whose cures she
swore by because they always worked.
His house was Liberty Hall, a glorious vision of sunlight,
good cheer and creativity. He was working on a book; so was I;
and it was easy to disappear into a space where one wouldn't be
ir
I
I
p
I
:
THESAcEoFSEDoNA 169
disturbed. Evenings were sometimes enlivened by convivial
dinner parties he gave for his neighbours. There was a good
word for almost everyone he encountered in Sedona, where he
seemed to be known and popular. He was a man who loved life.
He booked a friend, himself and myself on the local
ieep
trip
round the canyons one time, in which the vehicle zoomed up
and down crazy hillocks at angles of up to seventy degrees,
rather like a roller coaster, and he laughed uproariously while
we shrieked; it was his fifth time. Even when he didn't care for
a particular pleasure, he always sounded regretful about the
fact. 'I wish I liked beer,' he sighed as he saw me quaff a stein
of German lager. 'The people who drink it seem to get so much
enioyment from the stuIf.'
But there was dedication beneath the comedy. You had to
badger him in order to find it but once cornered, he became
serious. Not that he ever tried coming on like a Master or even
an Adept. 'f'm a student. We're all srudentsr'he insisted,'and
if anybody says hb's no longer a snrdent, I'd like to meet him.'
Few things irritated him more than the fatuous hunt for gurus
or invisible guides onto whom the aspirant pours his problems
while enioytng a masnrbatory ego-rub for his depth of
spiritual insight. 'The true Master is within your'he urged,'do
it yourself.'
I must've driven him mad with my questions. When I didn't
like his answers I argued with him and he argued back.
Sometimes these sessions would climax in going through a
sacred textr line by line and word by word. Since everyone who
knew him praised his divinatory skills, I persuaded him to
supervise my ritual work. Earlier, I had seen him work a
ceremony of his own.
There was a Temple tucked away on the lower floor. The
door was always kept locked. Within, there was a windowless
room with an dtar at the centre. Upon this altar there reposed
a candle for Fire, a Chalice of wine for Water, a rose for Air and
a dish of bread and salt for Earth
- the Magician's Eucharist of
the Four Elements in which the gods indwell when success-
fully invoked. The four walls had
iust
the four Enochian
170 cRowLEY's APPRENTTcE
Elemental Tablets. Regardie wore white: a fellow-initiate and
I were robed in black. He sat us down in chairs at opposite ends
of the Temple, for our role on this occasion was simply to be
present and aware, and taking up a beautifully crafted Lotus
Wand, he commenced the ritualof Opening by Watchtowerby
which, among other things, the powers of the Four Elements
are conjured.
One's mood at the start of serious magical work is sometimes
sceptical and sullen, paradoxically enough, One's initid desire
to do it is without warning succeeded by a hundred reasons for
not doing it or puning it off until tomorrow. One wonders why
on earth one is doing ic it suddenly strikes one as being all a bit
silly. And I confess that this was my mood as Regardie started
work. There was a sense of nervous irritation and overwhelm-
ing inertia. It occurred to me to wonder idly what the hell I was
doing sitting here like a fool in some peculiar room with a
funny old man. At that time, I was going through periods of
accepting, from experiencelthat Magic worked, but question-
ing the point of it; and I had attended some rituals which
frankly bored me. So the oration from Zoroaster's Chaldean
Oracles:'Stoop not down into that darkly splendid world
wherein continually lieth a faithless depth and Hades wrapped
in gloom, delighting in unintelligible images, precipitous,
winding; a black ever-rolling abyss, ever espousing a body
unluminous, formless and void' left me unmoved. Slowly
though, I became conscious of the unmistakable fact that
something odd was happening as Regardie coniured Fire. No,
it couldn't be my imagination. I was definitely stafting to feel
uncomfortably hot.
And when, after all the phantoms have vanished, thou shalt see
that holy and formless fire, that fire which darts and flashes through
the hidden depths of the Universe, hear thou the Voice of Fire ...
OIP TEAA PEDOGE. In the names and letters of the Great
Southern
Quadrangle,
I invoke ye, ye Angels of the Watchtower of
the South.
THE SAGE OF SEDONA t7t
I had never known anything like the sensation I was
experiencing. It was as though I was sitting in an oven which
was getting hotter. Perspiration poured down my face and
landed in big droplets on my robe and on the floor
-
I wasn't
sweating so much as pouring with rain. It was very difficult to
breathe. There was fire in my cells and it hurt, my throat was
parched, I was gasping for air and I feared I might pass our
from the searing heat.
So therefore first, the priest who governeth the works of fire must
sprinkle with the lustral water of the loud resounding sea . . . EMPEH
ARSEL GAIOL. In the names and letters of the Great Vestern
Quadrangle,
I invoke ye, ye Angels of the Watchtower of the West.
As he chanted the invocation of Water, I felt that if I did not
have water to quench my thirst and cool my inflamed skin, I
might expire. He"sprinkled from the Chalice at that point and
I screamed inwardly for moisture. A few drops landed on my
bare arms, then appeared to expire in steam. Simultaneously
there was a downpour of sweat from my brow and all the fluids
of my bowels stirred and slopped about.
Such a fire existeth, extended through the rushing of Air. Or even
a fire formless, whence cometh the image of a voice. Or even a
flashing light, abounding, revolving, whirling forth, crying aloud ...
ORO IBAH AOZPI. In the names and letters of the Great Eastern
Quadrangle,
I invoke ye, ye Angels of the Watchtower of the Easr.
With the conjuration of Air, there was ablowing of a hot, dry
wind within the room. It was as though he had turned on a
heater which remorselessly blasted out the mid-day desert air.
Perspiration dried upon me. Gases rumbled within my belly.
Never in my life had I felt so physically weak, my brain whirled
and in my ears there was a humming. I couldn't breathe in the
stifling air. I fought the temptation to collapse on the floor in
an unconscious heap.
L72 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
EMOR DIAL HECTEGA. In the names and letters of the Great
Northern
Quadrangle,
I invoke ye, ye Angels of the Watchtower of
the North.
I was beyond any kind of response to the invocation of
Earth. I
just
sat there like a stone dummy, relieved that I
hadn't collapsed; though once this was over, I intended to flop
down on my bed and lie prone for many hours. When the
ceremony ended, I wasn't sure if I could rise from my chair but
somehow I made it and managed to stagger out of the room.
There was a period in the lavatory then I sagged onto the
bed. To my surprise, strength started to renrrn within
just
a
few minutes. It wasn't long before I rose easily and went to see
the others in the kitchen. My Golden Dawn colleague asked
concernedly if I was all right. She'd noticed that I'd been
perspiring furiously and wondered why. I told them exacdy
why.
*
'Were you frying my fat ofsomething?' I asked Regardie.
'Curious,' was all he would say. And a day later I went
through precisely the same ritual without any ill effects at dl
and came out wholly invigorated. That was true too of all
subsequent Temple work and teaching.
There is a letter of his which I unashamedly treasure. I had
written to him after an April visit thanking him for his
hospitality and expressing the hope that we would become
friends. His letter of 7 May 1982 stated: 'we are (not will be)
friends.' He had many friends; I was
iust
one of them. Our
friendship was that which obtains between two men who value
uuth above all else, when one is young and fiery and the other
is old and wise. My respect and affection for'the old man'are
obvious, though they never interfered with the expression of
my own views whenever they differed from those of Regardie
and I treasure the memory also of our long, detailed and cordial
arguments. My enthusiasm for his work never interfered with
intellectual criticism or the voicing of insights I was eager to
test against his own views.
On evenings when there were
just
the two of us, Regardie
i
il
ii
I
I
I
t
I
l!:
I
t,
I
THESAGEoFSEDoNA 173
and I would sit out on the deck which surrounded his home
and gaze across at the dark canyons and up at the stars.
Sometimes I'd ask him more questions. How did he feel, for
instance, about the publicationofearly works of his with which
he now disagreed? He replied that he had no right to censor the
earnest work of a much younger man. On another occasion, I
enquired after the people who had personally influenced his
life most. He told me there were four, three women and one
man. He declined to name two of the women, save to state that
they were not his wives, and as has been noted, one was Maria
de Miramar. The man, of course, was Crowley.
I recall one dinner-party when there was plenty of wine and
cognac and hash cookies and I became excessively vibrant
-
one would certainly term it'over the top' - and startled some
of the guests. The following midday I wandered into the
dining-room looking and feeling hungover. Regardie was
having lunch. 'You know who you were last night?' he said
cheerfully;'The Imp Crowley. Not the Master Therion. The
Imp C,rowley.r
We had one passion in common besides the concerns of this
book, of the arts and sciences or our love of life: boxing. Every
Thursday evening, Regardie used to watch television, the only
time I evr saw him do that. This was solely becaus Thursday
night was one TV station's 'Fight Night'and there was a very
good programme for all boxing fms, Tomoffozt)'s Clnmpions.
On 15 December 1983, he would write to me: 'I think of you
often
-
especially on Thursday nights when I watch the boxing
on TV. I still find it interesting; works offa lot of my own latent
tensions as if I were in the ring myself.'
I learned much from him which I still cannot put into
words. But I clearly recall one curious conversation. We were
sitting out beneath the stars and I'd
iust
told him some true
story in which I was convinced I'd acted honourably - and yet
by conventional standards behaved outrageously. This was on
my last visit, shordy before my retum to England.
'You have the nerve of the Devilr'he said and he chuckled
away, then suddenly a sadness passed over his face. 'Good luck
174 cRowl,Ey,s AppRENTTcE
in England. Buggered if I know why you like it so much
- I
never did. I'm truly sorry you've decided to leave God's own
country to rerurn to dear old Blighty. But there it is; if you've
decided, so be it. I really am not ar all sure you'll like it when
you return. It won't be easy. My intuition tells me it won't all
go as well as you hope. There'll be problems and quite a
number of them.'
I thought of the pains I'd suffered in America
- among other
things, my marriage had broken up
- and of further pains I
might have to endure on my return and these thoughts weren't
comforting, though on this night I was braced for the future.
After a pause I said: 'something I wanted to ask you. Don't
you reckon that the gods and goddesses are ultimately just
a
bunchof celestialgangsters and their molls
-
as Homerpointed
out?'
'Yesr'he responded thoughdully, 'yes, there's truthjn that.
Not All Truth, but it's one way of looking at it. Homer saw it,
so did Shakespeare: "As flie6'are we to the wanton gods, they
kill us for their sport . . ." But unless you've been singled out for
that
- and you haven't because they pick'em young and bless
them with everything before they top them
- and that hasn't
happened to you
-
the general rule is that you never go to the
wall as long as you're doing the gods'work. Now go to it!'he
exclaimed and chuckled. 'And good luck and may the gods
bless you.'
I returned to England and we carried on corresponding. His
letters gave
ioy
to my life. Sometimes he wrote in them views
which he would not have wanted published under his name
during his lifetime as when, in his letter of 8 December 1982,
he discussed a certain private matter which affected both of us.
Who the hell could have created such circumstances and worked
out a whole set of gambits that would bring you together? I suggest
that this is the working of the Gods, the Secret Chiefs, your Holy
Guardian Angel or what-not. But certainly some praeter-human
intelligence of some kind is involved here. I've seen this so many
times, f am occasionally bowled over by the supreme brilliance of
THESAGEoFSEDoNA
175
their handling of so many diverse factors, so many different people
and events in order to bring off some extraordinary event which
ordinarily would pass unnoticed as just
somethingthafhad happened
... Anyway, maybe you know what I'm talking about
H_e_gegt me gifts of books which he had warmly inscribed to
me. His letters made clear that he was still leading an active and
stimulating life. In summer 1983 he travelled i'ittt a woman
friend to Fiji, Australia and New Zealand,for magical as well as
personal reasons. In February 1984, he went r; Hawaii with
friends from the Falcon Press and wrote to me on 19 March:
Hawaii-was lo.r.ly . . . there were six of us. It is a perfectly beautiful
set of islands (ruined of course by the christian miisionaries and now
the scene of hostility between the native
polynesians
and the white
folk, theJapanese there being on the side of the whites). The weathir
is superb, warm the whole year round, lovely breezes constantly
lnoving,
the temperature just
right
- and ablaze with colour of
flow9r-s, reds, magentas and apricot
- incredible. My chest functi-
orred there a gleat deal_better than most places, and ihat was why I
$iae{
to go there ... If all goes well, I may move there. That,s siill
in the lap of the Gods.
There wasn't the slightest sign of senility in his letters,
thgySh.-ry
_he
grgw older he became more andmore impatieni
with wilful stupidity among authors on the occult. One was
,a
silly arse and that's all there is to it'. Of another he wrote
simply: 'He is a shit.' I found these pithy statements to be
plrfegtly true on meeting the gentlemen in question. Gradu-
ally, however, there were darker notes of unhappiness pepper-
ing his generally cheerful and encouraging tone.
_
A goggle of possible lawsuits are in the offing against which both
I and Falcon must defend ourselves, that is if thJy come off. I am
toyrng with the idea that once that threat is over, to employ all legal
means to terminate my contracts which place me in someone's
power. I don't like it one bit. Irr business matters I am such an idiot.
I should never have got myself involved conrractually and legally in
176 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
this way. My only feeble excuse is that I thought I was dealing with
friends, and friends would not coerce me. I was wrong (6 May 1984).
Things are lousy for the time being for both of us - and many more
too. These aspects are far-reaching. So let me hope that shortly
things will ease up and produce some better conditions for both of us
(2
June
1984).
Then in a letter which thanked me warmly for two of my
novels and'some good reading time':
My mood continued; I didn't want to do any work. I have a lot to do.
I havethreemss. froma GoldenDawner in New Zedandwhichneed
to be severely edited, and have an Introduction written for them. But
I just can't get down to work (18
June
1984).
Forgive my long silence. I have not been well. First of all I had
surgery for a left inguinal hernia. After that I contracted some kind
of u:irai infection, r[i"h laid me rather low. Not in the sense dlreally
being ill, but mostly leaving me*devoid of energy. I am still,rather
inerr but I am on the way up, thank heaven ... Thanks for the
birthday card ... this coming Saturday. 77 yrs of age, entering upon
my 78 year, Hell - that's old! ... I hope things are beginning to pigk
up for you now. It has been a long haul. Satum qq be
lpain
in th9
arse allright. I've got two or three more months of its afllictions and
then I hope things begin to improve. Same with you . .. All the best,
still feel inert but ... (13 November 1984).
This, the penultimate lener I received from Regardie,
contained a request which returns us to the concerns expressed
in the very first chapter of this work.
C,an I impose on you and ask a favor? I am sure the British
Museum has all the past issues of the Occuh Reuiew. Around
1932-33,I wrote a two part article for them entitled A
Jailsh
Mystical Moaemmt (about Chassidim), under the pseudonym of
Yisroel ben Baruch ha-Chassid. If it doesn't inconvenience you too
much, could you get me a Xeroxed copy of it for me? I'd appreciate
it no end. And while you're doing it, around the same time I did a
book review on a book entitled
JESUS
... Getting hold of both of
THESAGEOFSEDONA I77
these would be a great favor. Whatever it costs, do let me know . ..
Just
let me know and I'll send you some cash for it.
Obviously I sent him the materials he'd requested and
received the last letter I ever had from him, which I quote in
full:
Dear Gerald,
Thank you so very much for the copies of the stuff from the
Occuh Reaiew.I do appreciate it tremendously. Now be a nice guy
and let me know how much it cost you, and I'll send you some cash
(not a check which costs something to cash in England) by return.
Don't stand on ceremony about this. I do know what it's like to be
hard up on occasion so ....
The
Jesus
review is interesting. I haven't got the book now, but I'll
get lfeiser's to try and pick up a copy here. I wrote the authors of
Holy Blood: Holy Grailwhatwould happen to their thesis (that
Jesus
was married and had off-spring) if they accepted the notion
presented in Frank's (and many, many others) that there was no such
beastie, but they haven't answered
- nor do I think they will.
The Chassid article was interesting. Falcon want to include it in a
book on
Jewish
topics to which some
Jungians
and other
Jewish
scholars are contributing.
I am amused by my article, for as you know
Judaism
and
Christianity don't mean a thing to me. That article was written after
Buber's book came out in England, and
just
after I discovered a
Chassid schtubel in the East End, which intrigued me no end. But
my article is so unlike me that I must conclude it was written either
with tongue in cheek or was just plain hypocrisy.
I wanted then, and still do, an occultism wirhout religious
theology. Blavatsky's Seuet Doctine got me moving on that uail
initially. And the thing that I cottoned onto with Crowley and the
Equinoxes originally was the absence of any religious notion. It was
only later, when he got bitten by the Liber AL, that the tone of his
writing changed considerably, and it was no longer as exciting and
vigorous as the first ten Equinoxes.
Anyway, it was interesting to get hold of some stuff written 50
years ago. Itwas contemporarywith TluGardcnof Pomegranates and
178 cRowLEY's APPRENTIcE
The Tree of Life.I am glad they are without the
Jewish
Chassid-
viewpoint.
Anyway, that's that. Many thanks again for getting these copies
made-for-me. I am highly appreciative. All the very best, Always,
Francis (10 December 1984).
The ambivalence towards The Book of the laa remained to
the end. It is surprising that Regardie did not observe that
The Equinor, which he praises, followed directly ol q9T
Crowley's decision to accept The Book of tlu Law fully in 1909.
Furtheimore, we see at the end the issues of the beginning in
the reaction of the prosperous Dr Regardie to the
Judaism
in
which he had originally been reared.
The last communication I had from him contained the sum
of money promised for photo-copying purposes. Then therg
was silence. I am told that during this time, his health
deteriorated rapidly, much to his disgust. He had hoped for a
long, peaceful iife amidst bautiful surroundings once- he had
nniinla with The Complete Golden Daan System of Magic -
Jews
customarily end service in Synagogue by shaking h"q{t
and saying: 'I wish you a long life.'"It didn't seem that this
would-be Ih.."t.. fte naa declfued on many occasions too that
death didn't frighten him, only senility, and since his faculties
were at last biginning to degenerate, he announced his
intention to die soon and reincarnate almost immediately
afterwards.
On ll March 1985 I received a phone-call from
Los Angeles. The speaker was an old friend of his. She had
been a patient, she had received some magical instruction,
the
had founded a Golden Dawn Temple in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, some quarrel had led to a parting with
Regardie in 1983: but her grief was obvious. She told me that
Frincis was dead. He'd gone out to dinner with a man friend
of many years, it had been a very good dinner -
probably, and
apptopiiately, at his favourite Sedona restaurant which was
catted-ttte 6wl -
and over coffee, a massive heart attack had
killed him.
THESAGEoFSEDoNA I79
It was the way he would've wanted to go, quickly and
cleanly, and preferably after a good dinner. Another version of
his death has been cited earlier (Chapter I): either way, it was
the deparnrre of a sage. Yet when I put the phone down, I
grieved for a friend and ached for the loss; something good had
gone out of this world.
His deparnrre was mourned by all who had known him and
the many who had read his works. His Will was characteristi-
cally simple. He left his money to his favourite nephew Arnold,
a prosperous Los Angeles lawyer of whom Francis had often
spoken fondly, and everything else to the Israel Regardie
Foundation, set up and administered by Christopher Hyatt.
The words of Dr
Johnson
on the tombstone of Oliver
Goldsmith surely aply also to the life and work of Israel
Regardie: 'He touched nothing that he did not adorn.'
My intention in this chapter and at various points through-
out this work has been to show the informal side to a.rnan who
had learned toharmonize the
joys
and sorrows of life on this
planet with the rapture of questing after the starry heavens.
Some of Regardie's views are obviously open to question: for
instance, few share his opinion, based on practical experience
nevertheless, that Wilhelm Reich's'Orgone Energy Accumu-
lators' are of great mind-body benefit to anyone who tries
them.
Francis Israel Regardie was no saint; the very idea would
make him laugh. Nor was he a genius, though he recognized
genius whenever and wherever he encountered it: and some
might argue that in his later, specifically magical work, he was
on occasion possessed by genius in a manner which surprised
him. Leaving that aside, it can be said with certainty that he
grew from very little to become a fine healer, an excellent
author, a supreme exponent of both psychology and the
Western Esoteric Tradition and one in whom wisdom ulti-
mately reposed. Nor can I ever forget the warmth of his
friendship and his noble generosity of purse, mind, heart, guts
and soul.
Though I have criticized his work wherever I have found it
g
f
t;
t
180 CRO\PLEY'S APPRENTICE
doubtful, I have no hesitation in stating that his attainmentsat
the time I knew him were way ahead of any I may possess
- I
still have much catching up to do - and that he was, is and will
be an enduring guide, philosopher and friend to all who hunger
after the genuine truths of maner and spirit.
L5
Ecce Homo
Vhat did Francis Israel Regardie contribute to the sum of
human knowledge and understanding? What, if anything, did
he do to further the evolution of human consciousness?
One hopes that these questions have been answered fully by
what has gone before: but perhaps a summary is necessary.
I Regardie showed that an ordinary person hampered by
socio-economic disadvantages of every kind can neverthe-
less anain to a satisfying material life while passionately
pursuing the quest for sacred truths.
He brought together Magic and psychology as tools for the
development of the whole Person. In so doing, he substan-
tially broadened the scope of the magical tradition and
supplied unique insights into the workings of the human
psyche.
By his life and work he demonstrated the essential saniry of
the Western Esoteric Tradition.
He remains by far the best guide to the demanding,
advanced and complex issues tackled by Aleister Crowley.
His work on the Golden Dawn system augmented that
body of knowledge, enabled it to survive and inspired its
present revival.
His work was part of a general expansion of human
consciousness beyond the despair of life as merely 'birth,
copulation and death'. His short manuals maintained that
we are not'the hollow men, the stuffed men', and that there
is something simple and practical which we can do here and
now to remedy that despair.
In later life, regretting his youthful desire to impress with
long words and cumbersome clauses, he wrote so as to
make the complex simple and comprehensible: and
3
4
5
L82 cRorwLEY's APPRENTICE
although he was painfully aware of the difficulties involved
in any anempt to communicate metaphysical truths, he
also taught the practical means by which these truths may
be apprehended.
8 Regardie's body of work therefore gives the simplest
enquirer access to wisdom and to various methods of
realizing it within the Self, which methods are described in
the plainest possible language. Those who follow these
methods will certainly come to no harm and are far more
likely to grow on all levels until they are fit vehicles for the
reception of that Light -
or L.V.X . (lux)
-
for which fre
sought so sincerely and which he found. Those who have a
thorough grounding in Regardie's theories and praxis but
who then go onto other ways, will have acquired afirm and
fine foundation for that Temple of the Holy Spirit each one
of us must eventually build.
9 He put together in his books a
\Vay
by which'anyone with
persistence can attair to mystical illumination, knowledge
of one's True Will, expression of genuine emotion, full
discerning functioning of intellect, free flow of sexuality,
solid common sense and a balanced control of each
harmonized faculty.
l0 Finally, Regardie attained to an understanding of Magic
and its Light, though his modesty often masked this. He
could not express this understanding in the form of poetic
utterance. He wrote in the Way of Truth rather than in the
Way of Beauty, though as Keats pointed out, the two are
ultimately one. The plain fact remains that he was for a
time openly the supreme exponent of the Western Wisdom
Tradition which is equal in every Way to the noble
teachings of the East, which Ways are our only hope for the
regeneration of this currently benighted planet.
^Israel
Regardie was one of the most complex and
fascinating personalities
thrown up by ttre esoteric
revival which began with the establishment
of the
Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn in the 1B9Os.
Regardie had become Neister Crowley's
secretary in
1928;by
1932he had become an esoferic writer ind
philosopher
in his own right-and
had severed his
relationship
to the self-styled
GreatBeast 666.
Overtheyears
Regardie moved away from the Orderof the
Golden Dawn into fields such as alchemyand psycholoEz,
_
becoming a Reichian psychotherapist,
eveniually
-
achieving
a brilliant reconciliation
of psychologz
and his
earlier esoteric ideas.
This study of Regardie places
him squarely in the centre of
the Western occult movement,
a
position
in which he
remains
today
-
abrilliant, original and courageous
thinker.
0-7 1 ?6-2937 -8
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